I am catching up on the blog update! I have been busy with new and exciting adventures- some of those I will be able to share next year. And also, there was a problem with updating my website and blog. Technology! One of the updates I could not share on my website was the “12 Days of Christmas Print sale”. You can still check this out on my Facebook page.
“Fog” was inspired by one foggy morning view at the Durant Nature Park in Raleigh. I painted it in watercolor to keep the effect subtle (13×19 size). I painted it with thin glazes. I may have used little bit of white and gum arabic. This was one of the two paintings I had submitted to the Schwa show and was accepted. Schwa Show is Pitt County Arts Council’s National Juried Art Exhibition. The show dates are Jan 6-27, 2017 at the Emerge Gallery & Art Center in Greenville NC.
Annapolis Paintings done recently in my studio. From a trip I had taken couple of years ago. I was there with Mica and Ian. We had a great time walking around the waterfront. We also took a Cruise which helped me see and capture panoramic view of the city and its harbor. These new paintings have both- boats and cars!
“Annapolis Evening” is watercolor. I may have used bit of opaque white. I wanted to capture colors and energy of the evening so kept the painting loose. I also liked another composition of this same view- I may paint that in the future. Busy traffic on the left side is in contrast to the docked boat on the right side.
“Maryland Avenue, Annapolis” is watercolor. With State House in the background. The shadows define the early afternoon on the street.
“Annapolis Harbor” is oil on linen panel. I used pre-primed linen and applied couple of additional coats of traditional lead ground. Painted in alla prima manner without use of solvents and mediums.
NC State Fair is our family favorite! Have visited it many many times, and have taken Ian every year since he was a baby. I have also painted en plein air at the fair. But, it has been awhile since I had entered my paintings into NC State Fair’s Professional Juried competition. So, I decided to enter this year. I entered two oil paintings- both were juried in and are currently on display during the fair at the Kerr Scott building.
“Carolina Beach Day” was inspired by one of our family trips to the Carolina Beach. I loved the clouds, colorful umbrellas and crowds enjoying the beach day. I used stretched linen. Although I buy pre-primed linen, I apply additional coats of ground. That is something I have learned from studying master artist Richard Schmid. Richard recommends using Lead Ground. I use it every now and then, but, it is a hassle to use it since I have small home studio space. So, I also use Gamblin’s Titanium Ground. I have also used Lead Ground from Natural Pigments and Williamsburg. Both are good. But, toxicity, especially when working at home is always a concern. So, I may also try Williamsburg’s Titanium Ground. I know- not the same thing as Lead, but, will work for me. Preparing my support this way is important for me as I do not use solvents. I had bought solvents and mediums hoping those will magically improve my paintings! Well, that did not work. All I got was headaches from using those. So, I am happy keeping things solvent free. I have to occassionally use little bit of Gamsol or Turpentine when I apply ground. But, I do that in the garage, so, I suffer less. Schmid uses Mineral Spirits, Turpentine and Painting medium, and uses Mineral Spirits to clean brushes while painting. This doesn’t work foe me, as even Gamsol bothers me. So, I use nothing but Linseed Oil to apply a very thin couch prior to painting, and also to clean brushes. Or I just wipe the brushes with paper towels as I go. I may write another blog once I have tried all the different grounds. If you have any questions, please contact me.
“Free Range” painting is of Brothers Farm in La Grange NC. I had painted there during Kinston’s Annual Paint Out. That painting- “Lenoir County” is currently with Kinston CCA. I loved the farm and plan to create more paintings. In “Free Range”, I was able to capture the light and the mood of a North Carolina farm. As I write this, Kinston was recently flooded during Hurricane Matthew. I am hoping that life will soon return back to normal there. And I look forward to painting there next year.
If you visit the fair, please check out my paintings in the professional section…
Recent Wilmington Paintings. I love Wilmington! I use every opportunity to visit there! I also like to make a stop there when I go to Southport or one of the beaches.
These paintings were executed en plein air as well as in the studio. Continuing my tradition of painting on the water street, “Henrietta III”, “Water Street”, and “USCGC Diligence” were painting on the Water Street. Henrietta III has been one of my favorite subjects to paint in Wilmington. Sadly, Henrietta III is no longer in Wilmington. I used Rublev paints for this plein air watercolor. Water Street is always a busy place. River traffic on one side and street traffic on the other side. USCGC Diligence was a new subject for me (I have painted USS Battleship North Carolina before). What I remember about painting “3rd Street” is that it was hot and humid! “New Hanover County Courthouse” is painting of the same street from the other direction and I painted it in the studio. “Cape Fear Memorial Bridge” is also a studio painting. I had painted this as a background of many paintings- this painting is of the bridge itself. I painted it in many layers. I had passed by Kenan Memorial Fountain many times, this time I decided to setup my easel and paint it! I loved the evening light. This was earlier this year at the Easter. “Wrightsville Beach Evening” is a studio painting. I painted it in many layers. Summer is here and I look forward to visiting Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach! Of course, there will be more plein air paintings and more studio work as well…
I recently joined back Watercolor Society of North Carolina (WSNC) and had opportunity to submit my work for the 2016 WSNC 71st juried exhibition. I had submitted 2 entries, out of which “Carolina Summer Sky” has been accepted. The exhibition is juried by Mark Mehaffey. The exhibition will take place in October at the Dare County Arts Council. My painting will also be part of the traveling exhibit. Congratulations to my fellow artists who have made the show as well!
This painting is of the Shelley Lake. The tranquil lake is such a contrast to the storm cloud! Here in North Carolina, the weather can change quickly.
I used Rublev paints on 300 lb watercolor paper. I often use these pan colors when I want complete control over my painting process. I have also used these paints for my plein air work.
I am just getting back into submitting works for shows and competitions. It is time-consuming, expensive and at times, un-nerving. More on that later…
I was in Galax VA over a year ago for Chestnut Creek School of the Arts plein air paint out. The paint out was hosted by Mt. Vale Vineyards. I had completed 3 paintings and also sold one. This painting was done recently in my studio. I had seen this beautiful morning view while driving to the Vineyard. Early fall morning with cool air and cattle grazing in the fields. Clouds lit by rising Sun. Very picturesque. I used 300 lb paper for this painting. Saunders Waterford, I think. What I remember about the paint out is that it got very cold and it was very very windy. Studio piece was much easier to paint but plein air paintings were more fun.
We are already having warm days here in North Carolina. This limits my outdoor painting. But, I have been sketching regularly and one of my major focus is painting figures and portraits. I may also make a trip to New York city. This will be a family trip, so, no plan to do any plein air work in NY. But, I will have my sketchbook and camera, so, I hope to bring back enough reference material to do studio paintings. I would love to visit NY someday soon, just to paint…
I was back in Kinston this year for the annual plain air paint out. Last year my painting “Rainy Day in Kinston” had won the first place. The painting was sold and was the poster for this year’s annual Kinston BBQ festival. It had rained last year everyday of the paint out. So, I had painted sitting in my car. It was almost a repeat this year! first day the weather was storm but it cleared up. I painted “Gordon Street” in the morning. I had done one of my first paintings at the exact same location back in 2009. I was right near Chef & The Farmer. In the afternoon I headed to the Brothers Farm in La Grange NC. Kinston CCA has added this location as part of the paint out. Over the years, I have enjoyed working with Kinston CCA team. They are very helpful and make artists feel at home. Brothers Farm is full of painting subjects! Many old structures, tractors, pigs, chickens and sunny bits. I had limited time so I decided to paint open view from the farm. This was an oil and I used custom primed linen. I returned next day to the torrential rain. So, here I was again painting from my car! I had always wanted to paint the Heritage Street just to capture those poles and wires! This painting ended up winning the second place. The contest was judged by artist John Poon. I was back in Raleigh so missed the judging and awards ceremony. Couple of my paintings are still available with Kinston CCA. I plan to be back in 2017…
I have been painting beautiful town of Southport for few years now. The town invites artists to plein air paintouts and wet-paint sales every spring and fall. I have enjoyed painting this quaint town and am thankful to many art patrons who have purchased my original paintings. This year, I did two watercolors and one oil. I did oil painting on Friday and watercolors on Saturday. The oil painting sold on the same day and watercolor sold at the Wet-paint sale. This year, I decided to change locations and compositions of my paintings. I have always painted water and boats- so, Bay Street painting was a definite change! It is possible that I may be doing a live wedding painting at the Gazebo next year!
Lately, I have been making custom surface for my oil paintings. I usually paint on oil-primed linen. And now I apply titanium or lead ground to make a smoother and less absorbent surface. This makes a marked difference for all prima and plein air work. I haven’t settled on the ideal surface for my watercolors yet. I usually do plein air work on rough surface. Southport watercolors above were done on cold-pressed surface. I very rarely use hot-pressed surface for pen air work. I stick with Arches most of the time and sometimes Saunder’s Waterford. When I paint figures and nudes during my life drawing/ painting sessions, I use many different varieties. More on that later…
One from my series of misty watercolor landscape paintings. Early December in North Carolina. I was at the Durant park. The air was cool and crisp. I could almost taste the mist. Everything seemed so quiet. I know this place well but suddenly everything seemed mysterious! Visibility was low but I could see the fallen leaves on the ground as I walked around. Those looked clean and wet. Walking around was like walking in a dream. Everything looked so different. Mostly monochromatic with few color accents here and there, When I painted this landscape, keeping everything soft was a challenge. I worked in multiple layers to achieve the right values.
My latest watercolor paintings are departure from my usual style. I am really interested in exploring my medium to the fullest. I study Victorian artists for clues. Again, my aim is to find tools and techniques that help me convey the story I want to paint. Does mixing Chinese white help? Mix it. How about Gum arabic? Or Titanium white? Just do what it takes! I know purists, societies and exhibition committees frown upon these practices. But, so what? It is just a painting.