Thursday, July 31, 2008

prairie in bloom

Here is a recent photo of our prairie in bloom.  The photo shows mostly Black-eyed Susans and Daisy Fleabane;  there are other flowers blooming including vervain, bergamot, coneflowers, and blazing star.  The grasses are up to my shoulders in many areas! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pine Creek I

I went to my sister's place in Stockholm WI. for a few days last week.  There is a new conservation area there that has been bought and restored by the Western Wisconsin Land Trust.  It is called Pine Creek Natural Area and they have turned an old cow pasture with a down trodden eroded creek into a pristine trout stream with native prairie - its beautiful!  This piece is a continuation of the palette knife and limited palette exploration;  for this I added venetian red (along with white, black, and yellow ochre).


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Our Prairie

I have been working on some larger pieces and doing a bit of experimenting - that's why I haven't posted in a while. This piece came out of my landscape trials. I have been thinking about editing and simplifying, getting down to essentials. I decided to limit myself, and for this piece I took away all brushes and just used one palette knife. I also took away most of my paints and only used white, black, and yellow ochre. My thoughts were to not get caught up in details but to try to get at what is important about this view. It was freeing to not have so many options!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yellow Coneflowers II

I have been painting the micro and the macro - flower studies and landscapes. Its such a different process that I find I am having difficulty making the switch, and have not been happy enough with many of my landscapes to post them. I have been thinking about landscapes and the fact that here are acres and miles of land that are being distilled into a few square inches of canvas... to try to get to the essentials without getting caught up in specifics.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yellow Coneflowers

There are so many things blooming in the prairie now, I will post a photo soon but I don't think it will do it justice.  The flowers are tall enough so I can paint standing up - my preferred mode, instead of sitting on the ground.  Last night we were walking thru the prairie trails (we had to cut trails because the grasses are nearly to my shoulders!), and we came upon a skunk.  It was a youngster, and was only a few yards from us.  A tough little thing, it started making false charges, pawing the ground with its front feet, backing up, and doing handstands (no kidding).  We just kept watching it and pretty soon it picked up a dead bird it had been eating and resumed; very cute but unfortunately for all the nesting grassland birds
and ducks very carnivorous.   


Friday, July 11, 2008

Black-Eyed Susans II

I started this piece, got about one-third done, and it started pouring rain, hailing and storming... after an hour or so the rain stopped and the sun came out again. I went back out thinking my poor flowers would be all beaten down by the storm but they survived and I was able to finish my piece! These delicate beings are amazing.


Black-Eyed Susans I

The weather has been wild.  When painting this piece I had to hold on to my easle with my left hand while I painted with my right  because it was so windy; I  almost quite a couple of times, it felt a little crazy being out there.  Plus I had a stray Brittney Spaniel that had become my best friend and was at my feet the whole time.  Finally the flowers are beginning to bloom in the prairie!


Prairie's Edge

This is a painting of our prairie;  the flowers are starting to bloom, and it's full of birds and bugs.  It was one of those very heavy-atmosphere Minnesota  summer  days...


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Milkweed II

Usually I go for a long walk the night before or the morning of a painting day, and that's when I discover what I will be painting next.  Its  an emotional pull that I experience while seeing.


Milkweed I

Painting milkweed has been more difficult than I expected. They gently sway in the wind and  are washed  in full sun;  not a lot of contrast, all soft and powdery.  They have a wonderful smell and very delicate tones.