Friday, October 17, 2008

The Making of a Hibiscus

I took this photo from a hibiscus bush in a client's backyard. I've always wanted to paint a large flower, so this became my inspiration. I started with a natural (unbleached) linen canvas. I don't know why-- it just felt right.

Without drawing, I just began painting; using the photo loosely for reference, laying in thin washes of color with acrylic paint (called glazes); allowing the colors underneath to glow through.

I find the hibiscus petals to have a sinous, lyrical quality and I tried to capture the grace and flow with my thin linework. I used my lettering brushes (flat, squared tips) to paint the thin lines.

Next, I began to add the dark areas to the background, and light highlights to the flower. Painting is a process of going from background to foreground, dark to light, back and forth and back again.

I added a golden yellow glaze overall to the background to create a sense of sunlight, as well as emphasize the dark center and petal edges.

Here is the finished painting, with the background darkened even more than the photo, which really makes the hibiscus bloom pop. The shadow cast by the stamen in the center is more prominent-- adding to the sense of dimension.

My client loved it so much, she purchased it for her guest bathroom. I left the sides of the canvas unpainted raw canvas, which matched the paint color on the walls.

It makes a stunning addition, don't you think?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Weddings in One Weekend!

Last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of painting at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point-- a lovely sunset wedding on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Here is the view when I arrived approx. two hours before the start of the ceremony and began painting the scenery, which would serve as the background of the painting.

The sun was setting as the couple exchanged their vows.

You could see the outline of Catalina with the sun going down behind the island, and the sky turning a golden-pink color. It was a spectacular setting for a wedding!
I continued painting during the reception, putting finishing touches on the painting. Then I picked up my daughter, and her eight girlfriends who were spending the night, after an evening at "Knott's Scary Farm."
I packed my easel, paint palette, brushes, and a change of clothes and left for the airport in the dark hours of the morning. I flew into JFK Airport in New York and landed about 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time.

I rented a car and drove into New Jersey, heading for a suburb called River Vale, where I was booked to paint at a wedding scheduled to start at 7pm. I arrived at the Florentine Gardens Estate by 5:00, and set up for my second wedding in two days!

The groom hired me to paint a surprise gift for his bride. He wanted me to paint them on the dance floor, and capture grandparents, parents and several members of the bridal party.

The bride and groom were very pleased and their guests enjoyed watching me paint!

The following day, I drove into NY City to see a special van Gogh exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Being that it was Columbus Day-- I drove smack into the Columbus Day Parade, going through the middle of Manhattan. I made it to see the van Gogh paintings, shopped a little in the museum store, drove back to JFK and got on my plane for home.
If I can spend the rest of my life painting at such happy occasions as weddings, and travel to exciting new places (and return to places I love like NYC and New Jersey)-- I will be a very happy camper!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome to Somerset Lane

The client wanted to add "Somerset Lane" below the metal street numbers on the exterior of the house...

and a small "Welcome" at an angle above the doorbell intercom box with a little hand-written message to "Ring Bell"...

and butterflies!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Paradise Gardens Wedding

This is a new wedding painting from Paradise Gardens in Oceanside. The grounds are beautiful; with a lily pond, weeping willow, palms and green foilage all around. The red accent color makes a perfect compliment to all the greenery.

Here is the setting, with the gazebo as the main focal point. This was a smaller canvas which focused on the wedding party...

and the bride and groom exchanging their vows.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lake Havasu Sketches

I managed to get away for a few days this summer and went to Black Meadow Landing at Lake Havasu to enjoy the beauty (and the heat!). These are my favorite sketches from the trip.

The paper is "crinkly" because I used watercolor pencil. The paper in my sketchbook is not really heavy enough for water. Oh, well.

This is a watercolor sketch that somehow didn't wrinkle the paper. I really like the simplicity of this one.

This is typical of my doodles, which always seem to have these cosmic spiral designs. Don't know where it comes from, but it's fun to just let go and draw.

The storm clouds were rolling in, which inspired the next "doodle":

We had the most glorious desert storm, with an incredible lightning display! Needless to say, I was stuck there until the following day, due to flash flooding.