Archive for October, 2008

Locally Grown- Finished Painting

October 28, 2008

” Locally Grown ” 11X14 oil on panel

Mr. Carter has now got a face and a proper identity. I took the advice of Frank Gardner, who can nail the essence of a subject with minimum fussiness, and did a loose rendering of the features. It was good advice. ” Squint “, he said. Little did he know that’s my usual state of vision anyway.

Working backwards now, and so you don’t have to scroll back to an older post, here’s what preceded this finished piece:

Got more detail and warm tones in the left side foreground and aimed to set what is behind him, into the background with bigger blocks of color, cooler tones.

The beginning:

Sometimes I like the whole painting and other times, I like parts. I like the knees down in this one. Hands down.

A lot of farmers took a big hit after Hurricane Omar- it’s going to be some time before regeneration and re-planting yields viable crops again. We almost bought our way out of another season, but almost wasn’t cause for celebration.

I’m going to show this painting and some others at The Good Hope School Art Show in February, a repeat of the one I did last year.

Admitting to Being Power-less!

October 25, 2008

Omar, the other “O ” man in the news. This one, we didn’t need- the other one we surely do.

This storm turned into a Category 3 hurricane overnight, leaving most of the island without power for a week or more, 40 boats sunken in the harbor, huge mahongany trees fallen over like cardboard cut-outs, over 100 power poles down and a great tip of the humble homburg to Mother Nature.

Had it been a slight shift of 20 miles west, the eye would have been directly over us, but in spite of the above descriptions, he moved fast with a small center and left us after some hours in the middle of the night. It could have been so much worse.

We were prepared, had Coleman lanterns, water, radio, shutters,- spent the entire day before moving furniture and the crap of lifes’ collecting, into the house. Don’t we all have much more than we really use?

All this moving took place during the escalating winds in the afternoon before the Hurricane hit, and a deluge of rain that surged down our front steps like a waterfall- my futile attempts at push-brooming and re-directing the flow seemed pointless but there isn’t much you can do to feel like you have any say about what happens.

Then you wait. Light the lanterns, prepare food while you can see and still have electricity, zip up the shutters, give the skittish dog a vet prescribed Valium ( he trembles from rain and thunder- this would have been his undoing ), give the skittish wife a half a Xanax ( if not now, then when?!), stay in your clothes because you never know, and hope for the best.

The ugly part comes the next day with cleaning up what seems monumental. No structural damage to the house, just a lot of fallen trees- we had to chain saw our way up the steps to get to the cars. The winds whip the leaves off of everything and plaster them to the house and the vehicles like Colorforms.

We were a week without power and internet ( blessing? curse? ).

You learn- or perhaps re-learn to appreciate what you have and to see the collective of community – everyone gets or gives a hand, people give away fruit fallen from downed trees, and to its’ credit, our local agencies acted quickly and efficiently.

I witnessed another kind of symbiosis: our other dog, not the skittish one, was post-storm, snoozing on her pillow on the deck when I noticed THIS:

This lizard had been swiping and eating hovering mosquitos that were buzzing around the dog! It didn’t stop there-

I stood no less than 3 feet away while this lizard snapped skeeters off of the dogs’ fur with the cooperative and appreciative consent of the dog.

And still…..

The lizard was totally unfazed by my presence, stayed for a half hour and I believe by the time it left, my dog had purchased a Geico Insurance Policy!

Locally Grown- New Painting in Progress

October 13, 2008

When I first moved here from NYC 7 years ago, I was in for an awakening in the produce department of our supermarket. Everything is shipped in from the states ( so you pay for food AND fuel ), and the produce is old by the time you get it.

I was introduced to Mr. Carter, above, a farmer, living here for the past 50 years and a strong believer in organic farming. Using a quarter acre of his land, my husband and I grew: lettuce, watermelon, peppers, squash, basil, chard, and fennel. And sold it at our local farmers’ market. We no longer grow, but still shop at the market to support the farmers who still do. We’re a fairly dry island and water is unpredictable.

It’s easier to paint a farmer than to be one.

I started the sketch on a toned canvas using vine charcoal- I love its’ softness. Then I washed in some tones to get composition.

Mr. Carter does have a face- I’m having some trouble getting it right so in the name of patience, I’ll get on it tomorrow after it dries a little more. The pants and the boots are NOT giving me trouble.

Works in progress remind me of the bride in curlers, no makeup, old clothes and sneakers. Then the stages of makeover, and layers, and magic, and good lighting and a loving congregation, and presto! She’s a beauty. I’m hoping some of that happens here.

Mr. Carter and Miss Bonnie as St. Croix Gothic.

Traded a pitchfork for a palette knife- neither job is easy.

I’m going to Florida to see my mother for a week – leave me some comments to come home to. Even constructive ones on finishing this piece.

St. Croix Painting Workshop

October 3, 2008

Looking straight up at the massive mast of the Schooner Roseway, a National Historic Landmark that makes its’ winter home here on St. Croix. This was a photo from last winter on a day trip I took with visiting friends.

In addition to being a teaching facility for kids on St. Croix to learn about sailing, there comes a unique opportunity for friends of this blog who would love to take a plein air painting workshop, on the Roseway as she makes her way from St. Croix, to St. John and the BVIs’ next March ’09.

Please click here to read about the mission of this stunning schooner and get details and itinerary on the workshop.

The workshop is being given by Colin Page- please go here and take a long drink of his work. He infuses landscapes, still lifes, figuratives with dazzling light and masterful brushwork.

You’ll also learn about the last workshop he gave on the Roseway and see why he wants to do another one- this time in waters a bit warmer and bluer than in New England.

Oh- I should add, there’s room only for 12. Book your trip now- operators are standing by…….