Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wintery Paintings

We're quickly moving into's time to wrap up 2011, and start posting some more recent paintings. All of these were painted from life/on location.

"Christmas Clementines" 6x6
Painted for a Christmas 6x6 swap party. The knife is a family hand-me-down, the plate and fruit are from Kroger, and ironically, the holiday "tablecloth" is a springy, rose-printed tank top I had recently bought on clearance at Macy's. You never know what could be used for a still life!

"Snow Melting Day" 8x10
Painted during a family visit. The wind was violently shaking my easel and blowing off my hat throughout the painting. Two passers-by commented that it was a bad day to paint. They don't know me! I was determined to get a snow painting before it melted away. You can see the bare ground creeping in from the right. The Colorado climate is not as snowy as you might think, at least in certain areas on the plains.

"Peaks Over Bear Lake" 8x10 Rocky Mountain National Park
Painted from life at Bear Lake. I snowshoed across the lake and into the woods afterward,
but the snowshoes fell off my feet after about 5 minutes. Luckily I was wearing rubber boots, which worked out well enough. I just had to flounder occasionally.

I'm standing by a sign near the Bear Lake trail, shortly before
starting my painting. This is why it's a good place for snowshoes!

"Autumn in the Subdivision" 9x12
I'm posting this one out of order. This is sometime in November, at
one of my favorite views in my subdivision. I love walking down
this hill, especially at sunset. This one is on 9x12 rather than my
usual 8x10. Somehow it doesn't seem so huge anymore. As a
matter of fact, painting larger feels a little easier in a sense, because
I don't have to use my brain to crop or scale down. I can paint
things closer to their actual size, and select the composition as is, the
way my view naturally frames it. The hard part is, I have more canvas to
cover, and the same speed of changing light to keep up with!!

"Still Time of Year" 8x10
Driving around Middle Tennessee in winter, I love watching how the sun interacts with the masses of leafless trees. Seen at a distance, a winter forest is like a fluffy, iridescent puff of smoke, shirting hues from light to shadow, and changing palette throughout the day. Up close, the leafless tree is craggy and moody, showing the intricate anatomy that is unseen in leafier months.

"Frog Creek" 9x12
I was painting this early February scene with Kevin Menck, when little piping sounds started coming from the creek. Kevin noted this was the first time the frogs had made a peep this year. This is a sure sign that my time to paint bristly, moody trees was coming to a close! It was a little disappointing to think spring was already coming, and there had not been one day of notably accumulated snow for me to get out and paint.

 Another interesting thing happened this day. Kevin pointed out the paint was really thin in some areas, and paint thickness looked best in an area in the center of the taller tree. (That was an area where I spent a lot of time making corrections by slapping on paint with a palette knife, so I was surprised to hear that area pointed out.) So for the next  paintings after that, and still counting, I have been applying thicker paint. I think the results are a huge improvement, adding texture and richness. You'll see more of the thick paint in the spring paintings coming up later.

"Stones River Overflow" 8x10
It's still early February...this is how the Stones River looked along the Greenway trail in Hermitage after a good rain. On the previous day, about a 100-foot section of the trail was submerged in murky water. So that's how I discovered what the trail looks like when you jog the other direction!

"Superbowl Sunday" 9x12
This is what I did on Superbowl Sunday, two days after the previous painting. You can see how much the water has receded, exposing a smooth, bark-less log.


  1. What a juicy post, Lisa. Just filled with wonderful paintings and interesting nuggets of insight and information.

  2. Thank you Shirley for your encouraging comment, and also for the kind words in the last post.