No spring here yet….

This has been a late and cold month so far here on Cape Cod.  I am just itching to get outside to do some plein air painting, but the cool (and sometimes very cold) temperatures and the wind have made it hard to be out long enough to really paint successfully.  After a very warm February, we have had January weather in March!

This is the first day of spring and the sun is bright.  It has been nice and light inside for painting, so below are a couple of recent depictions of the Cape in more temperate weather.

“Painting at Little Island” Oil on Board 12×16

“Golden Hour at Sandy Neck” 12×16 Oil on canvas

Music and Art

I love to combine my love of painting with my love of music.  I got the chance over the past few weeks when a friend and teacher of cello shared a photo of her and one of her students.  I was so taken by the light in the photo, that I asked permission to do a painting.  This is not my normal subject matter (I usually paint landscapes and nature subjects), but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try this very special subject. The painting is almost done, and I’m really happy with the results.  The first photo is the beginning mock up with shapes and colors (done after several drawings).  The second photo is of the almost finished painting.  I’m still looking at it in the studio and making minor tweaks…..

nikki-and-clara-oil

clara-and-nikki-final-oil

                                   “Nikki and Clara” Oil on Board 12×16

Counting the Birds

I love the annual Cornell University and Audubon “Backyard Birdwatch” project.  People all over the world count and identify the birds in their backyards and post the data on the ebird website. (http://gbbc.birdcount.org)  We’ve been doing the birdcount since the early 2000’s and it’s fascinating to see the results vary from year to year; it’s also nice to be able to go on the website and see the data from all over the US and now from other countries as well.  It’s a wonderful way to contribute to our knowledge about bird populations and how they might be changing.  If you have the time, it’s fun to participate! Below are some of the birds we’ve had visit our yard yesterday and today (the count goes on for two more days, ending on Monday the 20th).

red-belly-woodpecker

Female Red Bellied Woodpecker

female-cardinal

Female Cardinal

song-sparrow

Song Sparrow

cardinal-on-feeder

Male Cardinal

male-red-belly

Male Red Bellied Woodpecker

I’ve been doing garden paintings (what a great thing to do in the cold of winter!) for the next Art Center Show in March; the theme is  “Garden’s Galore”.  I did a large painting of the formal boxwood and rose garden at the local Historical Society and a smaller painting of a woodland garden in morning light.  I just finished varnishing them yesterday, so they are ready for framing.  I love the new varnish from Gamblin; clear as a bell and odorless. It goes on easily and dries very quickly.  Great company for anyone who paints in oils.

historical-society-garden

Historical Society Garden 16×20 oil on canvas

woodland-garden-ii

Woodland Garden oil on canvas 12×16

Painting the Night

Painting low light scenes requires a very different palette of colors.  I find I’m using a wide variety of yellows with some red and orange and burnt sienna mixed in – also a lot of mixed blacks.  I’m having fun focusing on the way light really stands out in these paintings.  I’ve also been trying some low light and night photography and finding that it’s a challenge to depict night scenes with good information in the shadows.  A great learning experience!

glow-in-the-snow

Glow in the Snow ~ Oil on Canvas 16×20

main-street-nyears-eve-1

Main Street New Years Eve ~ Oil on canvas 12×16

main-st-at-night-ii

Main Street New Years Eve II Oil on Board 12×16

nyears-eve-3

Main Street New Years Eve III ~ Oil on Board 12×16

 

red-sky-at-night

Red Sky at Night ~ photograph

sunset-on-the-bay

Sunset on the Bay ~ Photograph

watching-the-waves

Watching the Waves Roll In ~ Photograph

 

 

Holiday Crafts

I haven’t posted in a while; sorry, sorry, sorry!  I did a lot of plein air painting over the summer with the Falmouth Art Center group, Monday Painters.  Then this fall I started working on some crafts for the Holiday Market at the art center (a major fund raiser for the center), and now I’m working on some tree ornaments to give to friends we visit over the holidays.

For the Holiday Market I made some origami wall hangings and some small origami flowers in vases.  A good many of those have sold.  I also read about making photo tiles, cementing photos to 4×4 tiles and coating with a waterproof coating and gluing cork to the bottom to make coasters.  I put 32 in the market and all but 8 have sold to this point. Our matted photo prints haven’t sold as well as most years but I did sell an oil painting of Ice House Pond in the fall; I loved the painting and was so delighted that someone else liked it too!!!

Here are the origami branches and vases that I made for the Market as well as the photo coasters:

origami-at-the-arts-market   photo-coasters

A friend gave me some branches of the “Walking Stick Plant”, a shrub that is a relative of hazelnut and which has coiled and gnarled branches.  I decorated two of them for the tables and made an origami bonsai wall hanging with the third.  The plant is just amazing; I want one for my yard!

walking-stick-tree-large walking-stick-tree walking-stick-origami

Here are some of the paper ornaments I’ve been making for friends.  I found the template on line, but I’ve used Word to make different patterns on the template before printing them out and assembling them.

tree-decorations

Lastly here are two photos, one is of two origami wall hangings that were in the Fall Show at the Art Center.  The second is a photo of the oil painting of “Ice House Pond” that sold at the market this year.  Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you have been having as much fun with crafts as I have been!

origami-in-art-show ice-house-pond-painting

 

The Lichen Sweater

That’s what I’m calling it, because a number of the yarns that I used to assemble and knit this sweater are dyed with lichens.  The background pale green that ties the sweater together was dyed with lichens collected in Averill, VT and the striking gold yarn at the top of the sweater was dyed with lichens collected around Dan Hole Pond in the Ossipee Mountains of NH.  That that makes the sweater extra special.  It was also a wonderful way to use up small amounts of handspun yarn, too special to throw away, and not enough by themselves for a project.  I wasn’t sure as I knitted along whether the colored stripes were going to be coordinated enough to achieve a sweater that looked right, but I’m happy with the result.

Striped sweater joining

Circular sweater ready for joining at the underarms.

Striped Sweater finished

Completed sweater

Using up Odds and Ends

My idea for a striped sweater is taking shape.  And the biggest plus is that I’m using up small amounts of left over handspun yarn that is just too nice to throw away (but not enough for a big project).  Of course, small amounts get used up when I knit hats, but this project is a way to feature some lovely leftovers!

Several of the yarns in the sweater are lichen dyed, so I wanted to do something special with them.  I’m almost  to the join point for the yoke on this circular sweater.  I will knit the arms in the light green (lichen dyed) background color with just a couple of colored bands at the wrist.  Then for the yoke I will continue the various colored bands.  It’s fun seeing how these colors play off of each other in the sweater.

Striped Sweater

                                                             Body of the circular sweater

 

Behind the Barn at Bourne Farm

Bourne Farm painting completed this week. I feature it here because of all the lichens covering the rocks. Most of these are good dye lichens.