Saturday, June 11, 2011


 "Iris - Peking Summer" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

 "Iris - Honkey Tonk Blues" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Iris - Stairway to Heaven #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Iris - Good Show #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Iris - Stairway to Heaven #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Iris - Good Show #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
With the arrival of tourist season up here, we artists have been a flurry of activity, varnishing, framing, schlepping paintings hither and yon to galleries, and I had fallen behind on my blog posts!  These are the latest paintings I've done this past week.  A friend had called me on Monday, asking if I'd like to join her and a couple other painters at the Iris Farm, west of Traverse City.  So glad I went!

It was like stepping into Heaven!  Not only was it beautiful -- acres and acres of beautiful flowers in every color, but the smell was wonderful.  Sunny and perfect!
Before painting, I took an order form and walked around, picking out varieties I wanted to buy.  I ended up with 13, although I'd have loved to have one of everything.  
It was pretty hot: about 90.  So I only painted 1 little 6x6" there (the "Peking Summer").  I cut stems from the other varieties and brought home to paint in my cool studio.  I'd cut 4 but it looks like only 3 would open. 
The iris were unlike any I'd seen before: huge and many were very ruffled.  I'm so used to seeing older varieties.  Iris that somebody's great grandmother brought over, very small and unadorned.  So it was pretty exciting! 

Yellow Lady Slipper Orchids

 "Yellow Lady Slipper Orchid #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

 "Yellow Lady Slipper Orchid #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
 "Yellow Lady Slipper Orchid #3" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
It was a wonderful surprise to discover 4 clumps of lady slipper orchids growing right in back of my studio, at the edge of the swamp!  This is my first attempt at painting them.  Maybe I'll see if my neighbor will let me take a bloom off the pink lady slipper orchid that is on her property.  It blooms a week or so later than the yellow variety.  
I love the little curly-q "thingies" on the sides!  Pardon my ignorance of plant structures.

More Daffodils!

 "Daffodil: Lion's Mane" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

"Narcissus: Pheasant's Eye" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

These were the last 2 daffodils (narcissus?) that I was able to paint before the heat kind of "fried" everything here.  I admit it: I stole the Lion's Mane from the neighbor's lawn.  They were still in California and I figured they wouldn't mind.  I had grown these down at my old house in Farmington Hills, but had problems with them.  The blossoms were so huge and full, they were top-heavy and always fell face-down.  Better to stick with smaller, more simple varieties!

The little pheasant's eye grows in a clump right next to my studio.  It has a very sweet scent.

"Lavender and Gold"

"Lavender and Gold" -- oil on canvas 40x50"

As soon as I saw this beautiful purple glass bowl and silk scarf in a resale shop in Charlevoix, I knew it would be my next painting. Just fell in love with the colors!  It was high time to do another big still life, after months of the little 6x6's. 

Those are 2 little pots of petunias that I picked up at my favorite nursery (Pine Hill, in Torch Lake). Until fairly recently, I hadn't attempted painting flowers. Seems like I now compare everything to the difficulty of painting cupcakes: all those complicated swirls of frosting, the paper cup pleats....! Yikes!

Made a "new" discovery on this one. New to me, anyway: the deeper purple glass cylindar (in the back). How to make it a rich purple, yet give the illusion of smooth, translucent glass? A quandry. My first attempt showed the brushmarks ---- too upsetting! Finally, what I "discovered" on this one was to take a dry brush, dip it into the paint (in this case it was "ruby violet" from Vasari), smear it on the canvas, then wipe it off with a Viva paper towel. In effect, I was staining the canvas.

One of my friends saw this painting yesterday & she marveled at the glass bowl & reflections, etc. Well, up here, I have no TV reception. I totally refuse to shell out money for satellite TV. No cable here. So what else is there to do? Housework? Hah! Given the choice between mopping floors and figuring out reflections, you know what I would chose every time....!

Daffodils & Narcissi!

 "Daffodil #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

 "Daffodil #2" -- oil on canvas 6x6"
"Narcissus #1" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

Spring hit -- and with it, the many varieties of daffodils & narcissus popped up in my yard.  I'd never tried painting flowers until recently, but since I love looking at them, why not try painting them?  I admit it: I don't know the difference between a daffodil and a narcissus.  

It's rather challenging to try to paint so many things that will only last a few more days!  Try as I might, I know the season will end before I've gotten them all.

More Geraniums

 "Geranium #5" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

"Geranium #6" -- oil on canvas 6x6"

The last post I did was on May 3rd.  And today is June 11th!  Ooops!  Trying to catch up. While at Pine Hill Nursery a few weeks ago, I spied these beautiful geraniums.  I bought 5 small plants and talked the saleslady into letting me pick off a nice, fat pink bloom to take home to paint.  They're so nice at Pine Hill!  

Painting geraniums is kind of a freaky experience.  I hadn't tried it before and quickly realized that for the first 95% of the painting, it looks like a big blob!  It's only the last few defining brush strokes that pull it all together.