Friday, November 9, 2012

Third Polo Pony!

Began a new painting yesterday, though I didn't go with the square format as originally planned.  I really like these tight crops, and this one is even tighter, and larger.  At 18x24 it's the biggest piece so far.  I often shy away from large paintings, but it's good to challenge yourself now and then.

I actually really like how it looks at the moment.  I'm just blocking in the light and dark, giving the horse and rider form, but there's something about the loose brushstrokes that really appeals.  I'm much more carefree with the paint when blocking in the undercoat, something that I wish I could do with the final touches.  I sometimes get too "precious", as one of my art teachers used to say.  I think with this larger piece, because there's more information, more area to cover, I could attempt a looser, less controlled look.  That's the plan anyway.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Second Polo Pony finished

 Polo Pony II - 12x16"

I got back into my studio yesterday after a short hiatus.  Hurricane Sandy turned off the power for 24 hours last week, and put a bit of a damper on my motivation to paint, but I'm back into the swing of things again.  I count myself lucky that's all that happened.  I know a lot of people in Rhode Island were in the dark for several days, and of course there are those along the coast who lost their homes completely.  Terrible stuff.

Anyway, I'm still not 100% sold on this painting.  Maybe too much detail, which I'm trying to avoid.  But then it sometimes takes me a while to mentally and emotionally distance myself from a painting and see it from a different perspective.  Like a large piece I painted a few years ago of a grouping of houses on the Cape.  The moment I completed it I decided I hated how it looked, then a year or so later I rediscovered it in my studio and realized it wasn't so bad after all.  It's now hanging in my sun room, and I look at it every day.  If I can live with a painting and not get bored of looking at it, then I feel I've done a good job.

I plan to start on my third polo pony this afternoon.  I haven't finalized the composition, but I feel another square painting coming on.  It'll be fun to play around with ideas.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Made a little more progress on my polo pony Thursday and Friday, building up the layers and adding more detail, though to be honest I'm trying not to get too fussy with detail.  It's difficult, as I find the horse's form, the sheen of the coat, the muscle and bone, so fascinating.

I'm trying to get color into the shadowed areas too, because if you look really closely, there are so many variations.  It's not just brown or grey, which is what you see at first glance, there's warm and cool areas, which translate into color.  There's quite a lot of information if you look for it.  I use a lot of purple and blue in these areas, as I often do in my paintings.  I love pure color.  I think that's part of learning to be a better artist - seeing things that others can't, and translating that to canvas in a way that's appealing to the eye and makes sense.

I've also decided to keep the background red.  I got hung up on the background with my first polo pony painting, and going on advice from an artist friend, think it's best to just leave the background essentially blank so it doesn't distract from the subject.  I actually always start my paintings with a red-orange base coat to give my paintings warmth, but in this case, I think it really accentuates the horse and provides added vibrancy.  I've always been fond of red in my paintings.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Website is here!

I've finally posted the new website.  As I said, it's not a massive change, though the layout is slightly different, and I've added some of my new pieces, and just tried to simplify overall.  Hopefully it's just as easy to navigate.

I consider this more of an online portfolio than anything, but all my work, unless otherwise specified, is for sale.  The internet's certainly a great platform to showcase artwork, and I enjoy playing around with the look and functionality of my website almost as much as I enjoy creating the art.  There's still a few tweaks to make here and there, and some art to add, but otherwise I've finished with this for now.  Onto the art!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Website Coming Soon...

Thought I'd also mention, I'm currently updating my website, and the new and improved version should up and running soon.  Nothing too drastic.  Just a few minor alterations.  A different layout, with a few less categories.  It's hard to add new paintings to my site the way it is now, so this should be an improvement for practical reasons, at least.  If all goes well, it'll probably be up in the next few days, so check back soon!

More Polo Ponies

Started a new painting today.  Thought I'd attempt an even tighter crop this time, to highlight the true beauty of the horse, and the incredible muscle tone in the flank.  I was a little nervous at first, wondering if this cut too much of the horse out of the picture, but I've since decided I like this close-up examination.  To look at the details that make this animal so beautiful.  I want to be looser with my brush stroke too, and eradicate the background altogether so the horse is the primary focus.  No annoying trees to deal with this time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Finding inspiration can sometimes be a challenge.  I often go through dry periods where I'm not motivated enough to paint.  That's usually when I write.  But thankfully a few weeks back, when the weather was still nice, a friend took me (finally!) to the polo in Portsmouth, where I got to see USA vs. Italy.  I say finally, because I've lived in Portsmouth for over nine years, and I've never been, which seems insane considering it's literally around the corner from me.

Anyway, it was quite an experience.  Wine flowed, copious amounts of cheese and deli meats were consumed (my friend is Italian), and the polo ponies rumbled past.  I understand it's a dangerous sport, which I witnessed first hand.  One of the Italians either got whacked in the chest with a mallet, or fell off his horse, I'm not entirely sure, but the poor guy writhed on the ground for a while until he recovered enough to carry on.  Ouch.  Obviously, I took my camera and snapped as many pics as I could (of the horses, not the injured Italian), and came up with a few promising compositions.  I completed my first painting last week, with hopefully more to come.

I've always been fascinated by horses.  I think they're beautiful creatures.  I used to draw and paint them as a teenager.  That's why my focus is the horse, and why I've partially decapitated the rider.  To me, he's not nearly as important.

Being very critical of my own work, I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with this piece.  I like the energy of the horse, but that huge expanse of grass to the left really bothers me.  I may take that into account in my next composition.  I might make it a tighter crop, so there's even more horse, and less grass.  My other gripe is that I wished I'd got a bit of blue sky in there somewhere.  It was a gorgeous day, but there's a huge wall of trees behind the polo grounds, and they became the backdrop instead of the sky, and I really don't like painting trees for some reason.  Perhaps next time I'll take a walk around the grounds and get a different perspective.  (That's the problem with drinking too much wine - I didn't think to change my position!)  That'll have to be next summer though.  The polo is over for the year.  I'm just glad I got to go the once.  It was fun.

Polo Pony - 18x18"

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Cape

Went to the Cape recently.  I'd happily move there if I had the opportunity.  Such great atmosphere.  Love the beaches, the towns, the scenery.  Unfortunately, the weather was pretty overcast when we were there, so it was near impossible to get great photos.  Then of course, on the day we left, the sun came out.  Typical.  I managed to snap a few shots of the Days Cottages in Truro before we departed.  Love these little cottages by the sea.  I painted "Early Morning on the Cape" this week, and I have a few other paintings to do from my trip.  I hope to enter this in the Portsmouth Arts Guild show Awakenings next week.  Cross fingers!

Early Morning on the Cape - 11x14"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Work

So, 2012 has been an interesting year so far, and great for Honorable Mentions.  My first piece exhibited was "A Quiet Street", which was my first HM in the Imagine Blue show at Portsmouth Arts Guild.  I even entered a photograph into the Juried Photography show, "Wonder", which garnered me my second HM.  I was quite surprised by this award, as there were some truly great photos in this show.  Just as an aside, the little girl is my niece, Lola, and yes, the duck is real.

The "Ayrault St" painting is one of many intended for a show in Newport this August.  I chose this particular house because of its architectural details, like the archways, the columns, the balustrade.  There are so many interesting angles and shadows, and I am fascinated by light and shadow.  The biggest and final piece will be a night-time view, not unlike my "Night Lights" piece, where I'll get to paint interior light, another favorite of mine.

In general, I'm looking forward to summer.  There are many more opportunities for painting plein air and getting great shots of light and shadow when the sun's out, so I'm hoping for a productive painting season.

A Quiet Street - 11x14

Wonder - 8x10

Ayrault St - 11x14