I have often wondered if I would work better in oil or acrylic instead of watercolor. Since this is a time for exploration, I used a very small 6 inch by 8 inch canvas to paint a scene in acrylic. My husband and I spend six months living in Germany at the end of 2014. I worked in Mannheim and we lived in Heidelberg. One of our favorite explorations was a trip to Amsterdam that allowed us to see remarkable art and to explore the Dutch countryside. We visited late in the year, a time of damp and rainy weather. I decided to use a view of a windmill for my first, tiny acrylic painting. I wanted to see if I could capture the feeling of a damp, misty morning. The actual painting has a more unified surface and my dabs (particularly in the sky) do not stand out like they do in the photo. I’m no photographer but I love my iPhone and it usually does a great job for me. Oh well, I do my best!
October 16, 2011 October 21, 2011
I have never specifically shown the work of another artist on my blog BUT, as a huge promoter of the Watercolor Society of Indiana and a HUGE fan of the top three artists of 2011, I wanted to share the magic they create with you, my fellow artists and bloggers. I have included the Judge’s Comments and comments from the artists. You may also see notes from me since I pulled this information together for use by the docents at the IMA.
Smith, Jerry, Sanguine Summer, acrylic on paper 29 x 21
Wilbur Meese Memorial Award: BEST IN SHOW
“This painting has beautiful flow, movement, and balance. Everything good about composition exists in the painting. The color is incredible—especially the grays. I want to take this painting home with me.”
I’m constantly drawn to the Indiana landscape, especially the rolling hills and small farms found in the southern part of the state. In recent years I’ve been particularly interested in incorporating the textures and shapes of large foregrounds into my paintings. I’ve found the layering of acrylic paints useful in achieving the desired results.
Because this painting won Best-in-Show (and because I wanted to incorporate it in a Public Tour called Impressionism and Beyond) I sent Jerry several questions. Here are his answers to my mini-in terview. (PS I had to look it up…sanguine means cheerful or hopeful.)
1. Do you think of yourself as having a particular style or following a particular “school” of art?
I have not attempted to follow a particular style or school of painting. My beginning tendency was toward tight realism, but my preference is impressionism. I have spent many years trying to make this transition. I feel my main influence has been the Impressionists, especially the Cape Ann School painters such as Frederick Mulhaupt, Harry Vincent, and Aldro Hibbard.
2. Do you do plein air sketching and/or painting? Do you ever start a painting en plein air and finish in the studio?
Yes, I always carry and sketchbook and watercolors when I travel. I do both plein air and studio painting. When painting outside I prefer to finish the painting on location. However, weather or time limitations sometimes force me to finish or rework a painting in the studio.
3. Do you ever do a series of paintings of a specific location?
I love to work this way. Many times in the course of doing a painting, I get ideas about how the painting could be done in a different way or pushed in a different direction.
4. Do you have a favorite palette of colors?
I have no favorite colors. I use a fairly limited palette made up primarily of a warm and a cool in each of the primary colors plus a green and an earth tone, such as burnt sienna.
5. What do you consider most critical to a successful landscape (ie color, line, composition, value contrasts)?
It is very difficult to rank the order of importance for the elements of painting. They are all important. If forced to do so, I would have to say that it is critical to have a good composition before other things can be considered. It seems that color ranks very high among people viewing paintings.
6. How long does it take for you to paint a work like “Sanguine Summer”?
Sanguine Summer is a studio painting done from sketches and photos. A painting takes as long as it takes. Sometimes I work on a painting in more than one session and I tend to lose track of time when doing so. I also spend time planning and thinking about a painting before I ever start so I hesitate to put number estimates on the time put into a painting. An oft heard clichéd answer is “It took x hours to do the painting and a lifetime to learn how.”
April 30, 2011 May 1, 2011
I started this painting as I have all my others recently, with some lines and the idea of using a certain color palette. After the first application of watercolors, I suddenly saw this beautiful sun setting in the ocean. I tried to expand and enhance this initial image. What fun this one was to paint. It’s called Fire in The Sky.
I was so excited as I painted it that I almost had to smack my hands to leave it alone as it dried between layers of paint.
April 6, 2011 April 7, 2011
Something fun to start the day off right…I have mentioned that when I do abstract paintings I turn them all around and upside down to see if I can find the right way to hang a painting. I have even wired a painting in multiple ways when it seems to work in either portrait or landscape format. I have been playing with the painting I posted yesterday and made a fun discovery…it can also be a vibrant, sort of northern lights looking landscape!
I’m not going to change my intention for the painting but I did think this was a fun fact and it has given me food for thought…
March 13, 2011 March 14, 2011
I started this landscape three weeks ago. I thought had really messed up during the first round of washes so I put it aside. This weekend I had a little extra time so I pulled it out and worked on it. I did not solve all the problems and may actually do a few more touch ups but for now it is finished. My intent with the color scheme was to reflect an early Fall evening with a moist haze just beginning to rise. I am learning!
February 28, 2011 March 1, 2011
On January 1, 2011 I said I wanted to focus more time on learning Sumi-e and improving my landscape paintings this year. As of February 28, 2011 I have done neither. Are these still a priority? I decided YES so I did this landscape sketch with no preliminary drawing in my wet media sketchbook. I only had about 20 minutes to give but I took my first baby step. Yeah!
July 10, 2010 July 11, 2010
We just returned from a long weekend in the historic town of Madison, IN. Madison has over 100 square blocks full of historic buildings. It is the largest area of historic homes in the state of Indiana. We took a long weekend and visited two wineries and three historic homes. The Lanier Mansion is incredible both from the perspective of the original innovative design created by Francis Costigan in 1844 and from the quality of the latest restoration which was completed 15 years ago. The home is now owned by the State of Indiana and we had a wonderful guide. I did two little watercolor sketches – the first en plein air – and I am almost finished with a third.
The first I did from the balcony of our hotel. The view looks straight down the main street of the town. The right hand side has a large power plant in the background so I painted the left. The mornings are, of course, misty and dense with humidity which gives everything a pastel appearence.
We visited the Lauthier and Thomas Family Wineries. I brought apples and tomatoes to snack on and I had one of each left. I had a great time trying to capture the look of the bottles. Other notes about Madison: great art town, incredible restaurants and Cocoa Safari (Chocolate Shop – all hand made) is absolutely fabulous. Madison is a lovely city to visit for a long, relaxing weekend and is close to Clifty Falls State Park which has four 60-80 foot (yet unpainted) waterfalls. Madison, we will be back!