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
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 on Board 12×16
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).
Female Red Bellied Woodpecker
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 16×20 oil on canvas
Woodland Garden oil on canvas 12×16
My progress on the Aran lace sweater is creeping along. I have found that the non repeating lace pattern in the front panel is hard to keep track of. The back panel is a much easier repeat and I soon found that I didn’t need to use the chart. But the front panel required the chart the whole way up the front, although I did begin to have a sense of what was going to happen in the alternate rows. I’ve finished the front including the shaping for the neck and shoulders, and now am working on the back. The pattern calls for identical shaping for the neck and shoulder on the back, something I’m not sure I want to do (I usually have a higher neck at the back of the sweater). Right now I’m thinking of ways I can alter the pattern to avoid that dip in the back.
After I knit the shoulders together (three needle bindoff), I will pick up stitches around the arm edges for the arms. There’s some complicated short row shaping for the arm at that point (which I feel confident that I can do), but I may eliminate some of the decreases down the arm, as I want a little more ease in the arm. It’s interesting that the pattern designer elected to use plain stockinette stitch in the arms, rather than the moss stitch of the body. Fine with me, as the moss stitch is more complicated knitting; there is a band of aran lace that travels down the top of the arm.
Sweater back, working on shoulder decreases
Monday Studio Painters group has more people coming each week. Lots of the group are from the Monday Plein Air group that paints in the summer. We were talking yesterday about the value of continuing to paint, even though it’s still too cold for plein air. I’ve also joined the Palette Knife group at the Art Center, so I have two paintings to share from the past week:
“Winter on the Marsh” Oil on Board 16×20
Its getting colder, so it was particularly nice to have a warm fall Monday for one of the last “Monday Painters” sessions at Spohr Gardens in Falmouth. The fall colors across Oyster Pond added interest to a painting looking across the pond from the gardens. With a turn to chilly weather this week, this may have been my last outing with the group for this season. Other fall outings to Surf Drive and Chappaquoit Beach were also sites for other recent fall Monday trips. It’s been a good painting year.
Along Surf Drive – oil on board 11×14
Marsh at Chappy Beach – oil on board 12×16
Oyster Pond – View from Spohr Garden – oil on board 12×16
I can tell it’s fall, since I’ve picked up some of my crafts projects again. I had a big stash of nylon netting waiting to be turned into “Scrubbies”. Football games and World Series games are perfect opportunities to return to needlework! We had run out of Scrubbies from my last big batch, so it was good to replenish my supply. Nothing I buy works as well on cleaning pots, and they are gentle on no stick surfaces. Also great for car windshields and other surfaces.
“Monday Painters” is a group of artists from the Falmouth Artists’ Guild which meets every Monday to paint “en plein air”. The group usually returns to a site a second week, so different views of a location can be painted. Also, at the end of each session there is a sharing and critique. Of course, rain cancels the session, because many of our artists work in watercolor or pastel. We’re four weeks into the season (beautiful weather so far); we have met two weeks on the village green and two weeks at an organic farm called “Peachtree Farm”. Here are my paintings so far (all are oil palette knife paintings, most done on board, but one done on canvas).
Saint Barnabas from the Green; 12×16 oil on board
On the Village Green; 12×16 oil on board
Painting in the flowers; oil on board 12×16
Painting in the Orchard; oil on canvas 16×20
Dana’s Kitchen at Peachtree; oil on board 12×16
I’ve done a lot of work on pastel sketches and oil paintings of the string ensemble. These are the last of the paintings I worked on during the Fall Palette Knife + class. Lots of fun to try to portray the string ensemble in action!