Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Clean Studio and Backyard Miracles

I took this photo this past week in my studio. I'm pretty happy with how it's looking these days. My studio cleanup has made a big change. Because you are my friends, I will admit that there are a few things not appearing in the photo that still need to be dealt with. There are quite a few boxes not within the camera's range--maybe even nudged out of its range with my foot when I took the photo. My studio is not in a state of perfection yet (as if) but this part is what I see when I come up the stairs and it is making me happy. There has also been more light this past week. I love that.

I have a skylight in my studio which gets northern light. It is lovely, even light--the perfect light for painting. In the winter though, my skylight is sometimes covered completely with snow and, on those days, there is virtually no natural light. The skylight is my only window.  My art lamp is good. I've had it for decades and it combines fluorescent and incandescent bulbs to approximate natural light. But nothing can compare with good daylight. I am grateful for the days when I get that.

I have been painting in past weeks. If you follow my Instagram feed, Facebook page or Twitter account, you may have already seen these paintings. I took these photos one evening, hence the dramatic lighting. :)

These wintry days, I often paint using photos as reference. This is a sweet little Eastern cottontail rabbit who visited our front yard last June. I have loved rabbits all my life. I have a postcard of Albrecht Dürer's Young Hare that I have kept for years. This is my first painting of a rabbit. I am so proud of how this little fellow turned out. I am going to paint more. I know that many people detest the rabbits that visit their gardens and ravage their plants. To date, the rabbits who have visited here have only looked cute and pruned my plants lightly (and driven Meeko slightly crazy). All is well...for now.

I did this daffodil painting from a photo I took in my back garden. It was in either Chloé or Emma's garden patch. The photo didn't show the tulip in the background or daffodil buds at the side. I added those to help the composition feel more balanced. I know that not everyone agrees with using photos as references. I really don't see the problem as long as you use your own photos (definitely not okay to copy others' photos without permission) and also not be a slave to them. I like to use my photos as a starting point and then to put them aside and make sure that the painting makes sense on its own.

This is another painting that I worked on most recently. I slept very badly for a few nights this past week. About four hours each night. Because of the very tired state I was in, I didn't want to do final details on a painting I loved or to try to start a painting that might be complicated. I have a stack of paintings in one drawer--paintings that were either intended as studies or were meant to be more but didn't quite work out that way. I figured I would spend time on one of them. If it worked, great. If it didn't, back in the drawer. This is the 'after' of the one I decided to work on. I should have taken a 'before' photo. I am so happy with how this painting has turned out. This was a sweet, unexpected visitor in our yard about two years ago. I had to look it up at the time. It looked like something between a large sparrow and a fluffy bunny. A google search showed me that it was a 'snow bunting'. The study in my drawer seemed awkward and had many hard edges. I scrubbed the hard edges out and adjusted the parts that had bothered me (around the beak and eyes). I really like how it has turned out.


A lesson. Perhaps a life lesson. Don't give up on your paintings. I have learned this over and over again. Maybe every now and then there is one that definitely deserves to end up in the recycling basket but for most, put them in a drawer. On another day in perhaps another year, there will be hope. Oh yes, and be open to the appearance of miracles in your backyard like snow buntings. :)

8 comments:

  1. Your studio is fabulous! I think all of your paintings are wonderful. I get a Beatrix Potter feel from the bunny...all magical and whimsical!

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    1. Thank you so much. :) A Beatrix Potter feel? Oh, that is a lovely compliment. I think her work is wonderful.

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  2. This reminded me that a public speaking engagement I did ages ago was titled don't waste the miracle . It was about the preciousness of life. Thank you for the reminder. Xx

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  3. I think it looks like a very cosy place to work! :-)

    http://tinajoathome.com/

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    1. It is cozy, Tina, especially because of the angles of the ceiling. Plus the colours are soft.

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  4. What a beautiful place to work. I wish I could be as tidy as you! :)

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    1. Thanks so much. It's an ongoing struggle trying to keep it in order. The piles around me get bigger and bigger until I'm forced to clean it again! :)

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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