We had a snowstorm last night followed by rain this morning. It was gray and overcast till the sun broke through late this afternoon. I saw the storm clouds breaking up and racing away. I went up to the fields behind the library and set up my easel just as the sun was setting. It was crazy. The clouds were rolling by in big pieces constantly changing form. The light was changing. The cloud shapes were tearing apart. The colors were barely one identifiable color before they changed to another. I painted fast. It was gorgeous. By the time it was late dusk only a few thin strands of clouds were left in a mostly clear sky. The stars were coming out as i packed up.
Today was the first day of the Strada Easel challenge. I’m submitting a daily painting to the challenge for the month of January.
I went to Wells Harbor this afternoon. It was chilly and cloudy in the high 30’s with a breeze off the water. There were duck hunters out there making a racket every so often as they shot at ducks. Its usually very quiet out here, just the wind and a few birds. Today all the birds were very quiet . Maybe the large hawk I scared out of the bushes spooked them. Or it might have been the gunfire.
It was gorgeous out there. I painted the view of the edge of the marsh with the trails of snow left from the last storm. Another storm comes tonight.
Here’s the inside scoop : I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed painting in the 31 in 31 competition in January. It was a real push to do it. I had to fit it into my regular daily work schedule no matter how I felt, whether I was having a smooth day or a day running around putting out small fires. My days felt like they were full of fire scuffling and still I had to go out and paint something! What started to become perfectly clear to me was I couldn’t get anything done if I stopped myself mid stream in my day and jumped out to paint a picture. It was too much of a mental shift. So I kept pushing the painting time back to the end of the day. It was the best thing that I could have done. I could finish my other work and then turn my full attention to painting. How wonderful! I would find myself outside in the late afternoon, at dusk or after dark really enjoying the quiet of the evening. It made me appreciate winter. I stayed close to home. I painted things I never paint. I changed my technique. I adapted to the cold temperatures and the weather. It was an adventure. I want to do it again.
Now you can come and enjoy the little jewels that are the results of this series. I thought about Monet and his paintings of haystacks and waterlilies. I had my paintings of my little neighborhood and its different moods .
Come join us in celebration of a month of small, intimate moments of winter on Sunday, March 15, 1-4pm in my studio, 102 Wells Street, North Berwick, ME 03906. Paintings in this 31 in 31 Series are available for purchase.
This was the last painting I did during the last week of the month of daily paintings. I was so happy to have warm temps this night that I just kept painting one panel after another. It’s so nice to paint outdoors in winter and have mild, comfortable temperatures. This means any temp above 32! Oil paint behaves differently in really cold temps. Often its stiff and acts like concrete when its well below freezing in the single digits.
This past month I painted close to home. I stayed in town and my neighborhood. It was a treasure trove! I had no idea that I would see so many paintings in my backyard. The biggest thing I learned was that this little piece of landscape was always changing. The changes in light, weather and snow cover made a huge difference in how the neighborhood looked. I mostly painted in the afternoons, evenings and at night as that was when I had a chunk of time and I could usually rely on the light being most interesting then.
This night the neighbors had floodlights on lighting their driveway. A car was sitting parked in the pool of light. During the whole month of painting I hadn’t seen this area lit like this. While I was painting the scene the back porch door opened and a couple of people came out. Oh,oh I thought, I hope they don’t drive that car away. I painted the car quickly. They walked to the car, turned the headlights on, then slowly drove it out of the driveway. I painted the headlights, the tail lights and the light beams on the snow. As I was finishing up the last strokes on the canvas they were already gone. It was fitting that this was the last painting in this series.
Thank you all for following me during this month! It was great to get messages from you and hear which paintings & stories were your favorites!
SHOW ~ 31 PAINTINGS IN 31 DAYS : NEXT MONTH I will be having a show of all the little jewels that were painted during the month of January. You are invited to come by for tea & celebration ! As soon as they are all dry I will post a show date !
It was a nice warm night. I went out and set up my easel in my back yard near my studio. I looked at the cluster of houses across the field. I started painting them and the different lights that were on. My paints were behaving normally, flowing smoothly off the brush. It was great!
I work with a limited palette so it was very easy to grab a dark or a light and find my way with my brush around the different shapes. My headlight was getting dim. The batteries were worn out. No problem, I moved my easel closer to my studio flood lights. I just kept painting and guessed at what I was seeing.
I notice when painting in the dark it actually helps to not see very well. Hard and soft edges are easy to discern. If I can see it clearly and it is really bright it must have a hard edge. If its subtle and dim it must have a soft edge. When I paint it that way all the shapes emerge and all these lights appear. There is a beautiful mystery to it all. I liked this view of a back porch light, warmly lit windows and other random outdoor lights. I could see the different lights in the dark but I couldn’t tell you what they all belonged to ! The warm glow, the bits of scattered lights and lit windows were enough to hold my attention in the darkness.
I was able to paint more than one painting on a couple of days during my daily painting challenge in January. This painting was painted on one of those days. It was a warm evening with temps around 35 degrees.
After a full day of work again I was finding the only time I could squeeze in a painting was at dusk. I walked out into the back yard next to my studio and looked around. The neighborhood was quiet as I set up my easel. Not that I mind, dusk and evening are becoming one of my favorite times to be outside painting. This evening the neighbors had a light turned on that was right next to the window. It was shining out brightly onto the snow.
I started the painting and it occurred to me that I’d better paint a little faster, as this might not last long. Bingo, a few minutes after I had this thought they turned off the light. By that time I had painted it in the painting. This reminded me of all those times when I’m out painting a boat in the harbor and someone shows up and drives it away!
A while back the month of January used to be a quiet month, a pause from the intensity of my summer and fall schedule. Now I’m pretty much in the thick of it all year. Still, I wanted to do this 31 day challenge as I knew it would be an opportunity to get into a daily painting schedule and try out new materials, new tools and new paints !
Again today was a busy day, just as it has been all month during this 31 paintings in 31 days challenge. I was away all day and arrived home around sunset. Nothing was looking particularly interesting at dusk so I set up and waited for it to get dark. It was warm, calm and quiet with thin clouds covering the sky. The lights started to come on in the houses in the neighborhood. I watched and painted a cluster of house lights glowing in the dark. The painting was finished before I knew it.
Tonight is the last night of my 31 day painting schedule! It’s liberating and a bit sad at the same time. I want to go out and paint often, like I did this month.These daily painting sessions afforded me precious moments of peace and tranquility everyday no matter how busy my day was. I was out there breathing the fresh air and fully focused, enjoying some quiet time painting.
If you see a painting posted that you like in my preceding 30 blogs, today is the last day to take one of these little gems home for the special January prices listed. They will all change to regular pricing tomorrow on February 1, 2020. Contact me ASAP.
It might be because this is the 30th day of painting with only one more to go, but I broke loose and surprised myself today. As usual It was another day full of things that had to be tended to. I was out and about all day and by late afternoon, when I was originally planning to paint, the light didn’t look very interesting.
So when I got home I worked in the studio until after 5, then went out to look around as it got dark. I walked into the back yard and looked toward my studio. It was all lit up like a birthday cake, light was pouring out of the windows. In the dark blue sky just above the studio rooftop Venus was peeking down at me. High up overhead was the crescent moon all wrapped in a misty layer of light.
I grabbed my easel, and placed a tall vertical panel on it. I wasn’t planning on painting a picture of my studio and the moon. t was just that kind of night. The sky was this lovely deep blue, the air was still and quiet and the stars were twinkling. Distant planes flashed their lights across the sky. I could hear a girl singing and laughing in her back yard across the field. It felt like a chilly spring night. And I was in the right place at the right time.
Little did I think this afternoon that I was going to get home so late from running errands. I pulled into my driveway after 5pm. It was dark enough to know I had missed all the last light and dusk views.
Then, as I was walking around the back yard checking out the different views and looking for a spot to set up my easel, I saw a brilliant star in the west. I walked up onto my back deck and saw the crescent moon shinning through the big pines trees behind the studio. By the time I had my easel, paints and brushes, the moon had climbed above the trees and was moving south west toward the bright sparkling star. This star was so bright I realized this was not a star but a planet. It was Venus. It was quiet and peaceful. No wind and the temperature was still a warm 35. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be outside painting this lovely evening as the waxing crescent moon and Venus were meeting in the sky. Last night and tonight are the only times this happens this year. What a delight!
I started painting just before the sun set this evening. I could see the houses clearly in the rapidly declining light. I knew one thing was for sure. I had to paint the structures fast before they disappeared as the light dimmed. Suddenly the overcast sky was not so gray. The sun must have found an opening in the clouds and had dropped to that spot where the light was bouncing back up into the clouds. I saw a slight pink, then a violet , then more pink and peach. It was so quick. Maybe I saw it for 3 minutes before more clouds moved back in. It was enough time for me to paint it.
I love times like this. The whole scene was warm and rosy. Cars drove up and down the street and people parked cars into their driveways. I could see headlights and red tail lights at different houses here and there. Then the house lights came on and it was time for dinner.