What Would You Do?

When a long-time friend helped start the New Score Chamber Orchestra, I was privileged to provide the cover art for their programs, a collaboration that has continued for several years now (see Summer Nights Passing and Brand New Score ).

As a fundraiser, the orchestra has purchased several violins and has asked several artists to each turn one into a piece of art to be auctioned off.  So I have this “canvas” in my studio, waiting for its alter ego to appear:


What would you do?  How would you repurpose this falling apart instrument as a piece of art?


Imagining Winter

Snowy Evening, watercolor on canvas, 4" x 4"
Snowy Evening, watercolor on canvas, 4″ x 4″

We don’t have snow here, yet.  It’s not even officially winter, but I am thinking ahead and painting some snow scenes.  I have purchased some iridescent medium which can be used mixed in the watercolor paint, or brushed over top of it.  I use it to add some sparkle to the snow, but these images don’t show the sparkle.

Winter Fun, watercolor on canvas, 4" x 4"
Winter Fun, watercolor on canvas, 4″ x 4″

Still Feeling Crabby?

On one of our extended trips this past summer, we pulled into a marina at Knapps Narrows to re-provision the boat.  As we were getting started again the next morning, I looked across the creek to one of the warehouses where watermen sell their crabs.  A young man was working, stacking the crab baskets and lids, helping to tie up the boats as they came alongside, and loading baskets.  I was intrigued by the strong sunlight and shadow shapes.  By the time I went below decks to get my camera and returned, the young man had finished and gone inside.  However, I took a couple of pictures of the building, docks, baskets, and other boats in the area and put them together in this watercolor.

Beats a Day at the Office, watercolor, 10" x 14"
Beats a Day at the Office, watercolor, 10″ x 14″

Feeling Crabby?

The cooler weather of autumn has all of the crabs scrambling along the deep channels of the Chesapeake Bay, headed toward the mouth of the bay where they will burrow into the sand to wait out the winter.  So, here I am, painting from photos and memories.

Searching for Jumbo, watercolor, 10" x 14"
Searching for Jumbo, watercolor, 10″ x 14″

One summer morning when we had overnighted on the boat, we were awakened by the enthusiastic cries of crabbers following their chicken-neck line.  There was an exclamation of either glee or woe with every crab that came up, glee when it was big enough to keep, and woe when they had to throw it back.  But the loudest cries were for the big crabs when “Jumbo!” resounded across the otherwise quiet morning waters.  It became apparent from their accents that two of the crabbers were visitors from eastern Europe, and we enjoyed their delight as we watched them over our morning coffee.

An Unusual Tree

A Tree of a Different Color, watercolor, 7" x 5"
A Tree of a Different Color, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

One of my students likes the splatter trees that I have been doing, but she wanted to keep the leaves in clusters of more discreet colors.  So we started experimenting and came up with this tree of unusually colored leaves (and a few watercolor drips).

I painted the leaf clusters first and let them dry.  Then I mixed up a dark color for the trunk and grew the trunk and branches amongst the leaf clusters, going behind the lighter areas so that they come forward and going through the holes in the tree and over the darker areas in the leaf clusters.

I’m guessing that this might be an autumn tree since the leaves are falling on the ground and some of the branches are starting to get bare.

What colors have you seen in leaves recently?

If You’re Still Anticipating Autumn Colors, You Can Find Some Here

All the wonderful colors of autumn are coming.  We see hints of them in some trees, and due to our recent drought, many leaves are falling off the trees, but there is still a lot of green chlorophyll in our area.  Except in my art studio!

These trees are made by splattering different hues of watercolor onto the paper or canvas.  Enough water is sprayed on the surface to let the colors start to run together.  After that dries, I add the trunk of the tree, placing it behind the lighter leaf shapes of color and through the darker shapes and the holes for the birds to fly through.  Branches are woven into the tree the same way, trying to make sure that they all connect logically and get smaller as they get further from the trunk. Sometimes I splatter again at the end to give it more texture.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your walk through my trees.  I’m thankful that I won’t have to rake the leaves!

Autumn Treasurers

More little paintings, these featuring an autumn theme.

Fallen, watercolor, 3" x 3"
Fallen, watercolor, 3″ x 3″

Every autumn I am enchanted by the color in the leaves, the reds of the maples, the golds and browns of the oaks, and the bright yellows of aspen.  I had painted this small picture by tracing around the leaf and painting a light value of red paint inside the shape and a contrasting mixture outside the shape, when I was intrigued by the idea of putting paint directly on the leaf and printing it onto the paper inside the shape I had drawn.  I liked the results enough that I had to try it again, this time on canvas:

A Fingerprint of Autumn, watercolor on canvas, 4" x 4"
A Fingerprint of Autumn, watercolor on canvas, 4″ x 4″

And then I had to step back from the close ups of autumn to see the splendor of the big picture in this little picture:

Mountain View, watercolor, 3" x 4"
Mountain View, watercolor, 3″ x 4″