Sunday, August 17, 2014

Snail Painting

"Gastropod with Shell" oil paint,  2014

A few weeks ago we had a little snail friend who kept showing up on our front porch (much to the delight of our dog Zoe). I know that a snail is really just a gastropod with a nice spiral shell (those without shells are commonly referred to as "slugs"--eek!), but nonetheless I think that their little squishy bodies are visually interesting and full of texture. The shell almost looks like a large hat that doesn't really belong, which in my opinion makes the snail a whimsical creature. Of course the actual colors of our snail, along with most of the snails that I've seen, are significantly less vibrant than the ones I decided to use in my painting--but this is part of the whimsy! Moreover, while we're still having beautiful sunny summer days here in Colorado, I just wasn't feeling the neutral colors and pale "pukey" shades of green that would have been a more realistic snail color palette.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bull Moose Painting

"Moose in Lake" oil paint, 2014

A few weeks ago we saw a female moose and her calf while hiking on the Isabelle Glacier Trail near the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. While I've lived in Colorado for about seven years, this is only the second time I've seen a moose in this state (seems like they were everywhere in Maine). Our "moose encounter" inspired my most recent oil painting. However, since I love the antlers on bull moose, I decided to paint a male rather than the female moose and calf we saw while hiking (see photo below). I had some fun playing around with the colors and slightly abstracting the markings and shadows on the moose's body.  The dark lines of the shadows around the bright colors on the body vaguely remind me of stained glass windows, which wasn't my initial intention, but I like how it turned out. 



Monday, July 21, 2014

More Summer Painting: Owl #2

"Short-eared Owl" acrylic, 2014
Since I enjoyed working on my first owl painting (a barn owl as seen below), I thought: why not do another owl painting? There is something about owl faces and the line of their wings that really draws my eye. I am not a bird-watcher or raptor expert, but I believe that this one is a Short-eared Owl, which are more commonly seen in the UK. 

Here are the two owl paintings together:

 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nantucket Painting and Photographs

A stay on the island of Nantucket a few weeks ago inspired this painting.  Living in Colorado, I admit that I do miss the beach and the ocean. After a few cloudy days, the weather chose the day that we left Nantucket (of course) to give us a beautiful day with blue skies and sunlight shimmering off the water. I took some photos from the deck of the ferry as we slowly made our way past the anchored sailboats near the harbor. This painting is based on a shot of the Brant Point Lighthouse with two anchored sailboats in the foreground. There were some other details (beach goers, buoys, etc.), which I chose to eliminate to keep the image more simple.
"Green Sailboat" acrylic, 2014


It's interesting how different the color of the sea can look from different angles or in different lighting. Below are a few photographs that I took of the water from the ferry when we got further away from the island. It went from looking dark blue to a luminescent sea green color. Composition-wise, these aren't the most amazing shots, but I love the colors!

"Green Sea" 2014


"Green Sea 2" 2014
Below is a photograph of the ocean at Sconset Beach.

"Dunes at Sconset" 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

African Elephant Painting: for Tanzania Trip Fundraiser

My husband and two other teachers will be taking a group of high school students on a trip to Tanzania in June. They plan to climb Kilimanjaro and then volunteer at an orphanage in Tanzania. As the trip is expensive, they are doing some fundraisers to offset the costs for the students. I painted an African elephant to donate to their silent auction fundraiser. I titled this one “Les Larmes d’El├ęphant” (elephant tears) because it looks as though the elephant is crying. Although, the part of the painting that I'm drawn to the most is actually the smooth contrast created by the light hitting the ear and the shadows around it rather than the eye of the elephant. So why is the title in French? I prefer how the sounds of the words flow together in French versus the more chopped up sound of the title in English. In some ways, this painting goes with the elephant painting (view here) that I did last summer. However, I think that this has much higher contrast and less of a pastel look.

"Les Larmes d'El├ęphant" acrylic, 2014