Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painting in the Neighborhood

"The Gilded Age" 8x10

I have a yearly tradition that started in 2009: painting the neighbor's spring blossoms and ivy in the setting sun. I only have a small window of time to do this: for a few days in March, between 5:30 and 6:30 pm, and only if the sun is out (not blocked by clouds). So when that window comes around, I paint. There's almost always a white vehicle in the driveway, which adds a block of cool color to the flaming scene. This year there was also a set of lawn furniture, which provided additional shiny surfaces to catch the golden light. Painted plein air.
"Sunset in the Bonna's" 9x12

There is another scene that I repeatedly paint in the neighborhood: a hilltop intersection that has one of the best vistas in the subdivision, especially at sundown. I painted the sunset and roughly blocked in the trees, etc., en plein air. I smoothed out the sunset a little and added detail from a photo.

Once I had finished painting the sunset sky, I had very little time left to paint the trees, houses, etc. As the light disappeared, I was soon painting completely by light/dark values, and just guessing at color, based on the location of the colors on my palette. When I found myself painting by the headlights of a passing car, I knew it was time to stop! There was already a crescent moon and stars in the sky. I took a photo of the painting on my easel, as the flashbulb going off was the only way I could tell what my painting looked like.
"Noon Contrast" 8x10

One late morning in March, on my way to get some brunch, I saw the sun brilliantly shining on the neighbor's house and trees: an ivy-covered hackberry tree, and a snowy white Bradford pear tree. Even the leafless, still-dormant shrubs were glowing in the sun. Time to paint! (Well, after eating my pancakes, of course…) This is about 90% plein air, with some touch up afterward. Can you spot the chair?

Painting in the neighborhood is great...I love the familiarity of the finished paintings, and the zero or negligible amount of gas used to get to the spot. I've had three people with connections to the Bonna's inquire about purchasing these paintings, so there's another benefit! (All the streets in the subdivision begin with "Bonna," hence the nickname "the Bonna's.")

1 comment:

  1. I especially like the first two paintings. The white truck really makes the composition sing in the second one.
    I love it when an artist paints the familiar and makes the familiar extraordinary. You've shown how beautiful the Bonna's can be.