Saturday, May 29, 2010

Painting #28 - Three Pears

Three Pears
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Last fall and winter I spent a good deal of time photographing items (mostly fruit) for future references for still life subjects. It's a matter of timing to get just the right kind of light coming in our back door that leads to the deck. And at that time of year the light passes quickly. I remember the day I was photographing these pears, and the Professor asking just how many pictures of pears was I going to take. I have a lot. You just never know when you might feel like painting pears.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Painting #27 - Afternoon

oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

A scene from one of those gloriously sunny, summer afternoons here in the Southern Mountains. Just like today. Summer is such a beautiful season here in the Blue Ridge. Always 10 to 15 degrees cooler than our flat land neighbors but a shorter summer none-the-less. Everything grows fast and furious.

We planted a few tomato plants the other day, even though we are risking frost by putting them in the ground before Memorial Day, as the local wisdom suggests. It's a pesto garden, with basil and parsley along with the tomatoes. And it's kind of a joke with us about planting tomatoes. Chances are we won't get one tomato. But every once in a while we have a summer that is warm enough for long enough and we do get to enjoy a tomato or three. It's kind of like buying a lottery ticket. Odds are against winning but you want to play the game anyway.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - Trees

I am rarely happy with the trees I paint in watercolor, so I have been doing a little tree practice lately. Most of my tree practice you will never see here, however this is last evening's effort. Along with my practice of trees I have been pouring over our collection of art books to learn how other artists paint trees in watercolor. And the blog, How to Draw a Tree, caught my attention. I may just have to order his book.

It is curious how one's feelings about trees change, in proportion to one's appreciation of their importance and dignity as live beings. Trees are individual beings: they can be comic, heroic, tragic to the sensitive, practiced eye of the landscape artist. 
-John F. Carlson

*Thanks to all who commented on my last post! I have added a list to my side bar of artists working on a "100 project". I have it set to only show 5 of the most recent posts but you can click to expand the list and see them all. And again, if you are working on a "100 project" and I neglected to include your blog on my list, please let me know in the comments for this post and I'll be sure to add it on. It will be fun to keep up with everyone's progress.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Painting #26 - Stream

oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

It's time I get back to posting paintings for my 100 painting project. This is #26, a view of a small stream from a spot near Simm's Pond along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have mentioned before that I am working a good deal ahead of my postings of these paintings. I just completed painting #36 yesterday. One reason for working ahead is that the oil paint needs some drying time before I can scan the paintings. When I was originally considering this project I considered whether I wanted to stop at 50 or try to do 100 paintings. Now that I am getting closer to having painted 50 paintings I can see that 50 would not be enough for this exercise. As I  approach the half-way point I feel that I am just beginning to hit my stride.

I have noticed that this idea of working towards a goal of 100 seems to have gained some popularity among fellow art bloggers recently. I find this inspiring in that these artists have set out to really know a particular subject or media. Not just experiment, dip their toes in and test the water, but totally immerse themselves so that they not only find out what it is they want to know, but that it becomes a true part of their being.

Here are a few fellow artist bloggers with current "100" projects. Please take a moment to stop by their blogs, as they are well worth a visit.

Jennifer Edwards - 100 Portraits Project
Krista Meister - 100 Paintings
Casey Toussaint - 100 Landscapes
Lyn Feudner - 100 Dogs
Raena - 100 Self Portraits
David Vallejo - 100 Pets

If you are doing a "100" project and I neglected to add your link here, please let me know in the comments to this post. I would love to see what you are doing!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More sketches from the beach

Here are a few more sketches from our week at the beach. Our friend and traveling companion is an architect who is also an avid watercolor artist and photographer. Often on our trips a painting challenge will emerge where he and The Professor paint the same subject. This time we were inspired by an onion found in the local Piggly Wiggly. It is fun shopping with another artist who delights in the visual qualities of produce as much as I do. So when we came home from the grocery with this onion only because we thought it was beautiful, it became the painting challenge for this trip.
I wish I could show you Ken's artwork, but he doesn't have a website or blog - yet. I'm working on that. So you will just have to take my word for how wonderful his watercolor paintings are, and being an architect,  you can probably imagine just how well he draws buildings. Even enjoys the challenges of perspective and gets those lines down effortlessly. Not me. Here is my feeble attempt of the view from the deck of our rental beach cottage.
And finally, late one evening I just felt like painting something, even though I was tired from a day of playing (keeping the dogs under control) on the beach and hiking around Botany Bay. (Lots of inspiration for future works there!) So I did a few quick watercolor sketches of drift wood and a sponge-like thing found on the beach. Just watercolor, no drawing. In this case it was far easier for me to go at these objects with a brush than to mess around getting a drawing down first. Some days are like that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - Sunny skies

 We had nothing but sunny skies and warm days at Edisto Beach last week. Along with our good friend's company and wonderful meals it was just perfect. Above is a page from my sketchbook and below is a photo of my sketching kit.
Before we left for our trip I picked up a few new supplies from Cheap Joe's. I had been wanting to try the new watercolor sticks thinking they would work in a similar fashion to Neocolor II water soluble crayons but behave more like traditional watercolors. I also found an empty metal tin at Cheap Joe's that worked perfectly to keep my selection of watercolor sticks in, and the lid acts as a palette.
 I am happy to report that the American Journey Watercolor Sticks do work for me much the same way as Neocolors with the addition of behaving more like traditional watercolor paints. You can draw directly onto the paper and then wet the drawing to get watercolor washes or my preferred method of touching a wet brush to the stick to pick up color and apply to the paper. I also would scribble some color onto the lid of the tin in order to mix colors for washes. Above is the color chart I made from my selection of colors. The only problem I now have is that I would like to pick up a couple of more colors, but of course then they won't all fit in that nicely compact tin! I did mention to the folks at Cheap Joe's that they should consider offering a metal case that could also act as a palette for storing these watercolor sticks.
And here is another page spread from my sketchbook. Both of these sketchbook page spreads were done mostly with the watercolor sticks, some watercolor pencil, and the occasional addition of gray colored pencil. I have many more sketches from our week at the beach to share - just as soon as I get them all scanned. I am still adjusting to being back to the day-to-day usual routine after a week spent where my main concern was what I might sketch and what will we cook up for dinner. Sigh. Vacations as so wonderful!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - Oops it's Wednesday

But I may as well post a sketch anyway. We have had a busy couple of weeks here with Kiddo's dance performances and trying to keep up in spite of all three of us being sick. I did the sketches above after coming home from taking Kiddo to the doctor last week. The scene on the left is a view from our living room, the same view that I sketched last January when everything was under a blanket of snow.

Kiddo did wonderfully in her performances last weekend, in spite of feeling poorly. And now we are enjoying a period of rest and trying to get over this bug we keep passing around. I know I haven't been blogging or visiting your blogs and commenting very much but I feel like I need a little break from it all. I do have quite a backlog of paintings for my 100 painting project that are ready for scanning and posting which I intend to catch up with very soon. Right after I've regrouped and recharged. And spent some time just sitting in this glorious sunshine we're having these days. With my sketchbook, of course.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Print of the Month

Happy May! This is the image I chose for the Print of the Month for May. Fine art prints and greeting cards from my original colored pencil drawing of a rose blossom are available from Imagekind. Just in time for Mother's Day.


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