Monday, April 28, 2008

Plein Air Painting

Fenner Arboretum
in Lansing Michigan was the site for the first paint out of the

Great Lakes Plien Air Painters Association that took place on Saturday April 26. The Plien Air Painters group is available to anyone who would like to join, so please take a look at their website and come out and paint with the group. Visitors are always welcome and you don't have to have any special equipment or skill level just the desire to meet other artist and get out and paint.

The day was over cast and really cold. The water looked brown not even gray like the sky. It sure looked like it could rain at any minute, but it didn't. I was able to get two paintings done before I just got so cold and had to give up painting for the day. Hint: Always bring gloves and a hat and dress in layers.

This painting was the first study and it is 6x8. I use canvas mounted on RayMar panels because it keeps the light from coming through like stretched canvas could.

This painting is a little larger 10x12. When I paint en Plein Air I work very quickly just trying to get a feel for the subject and the light. I take pictures then sometimes go back in the studio and do a large painting from the color studies.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

National Gallery of Art and Vincent van Gogh

This weekend was a busy one I visted Alexandria Virgina. I can't say enough wonderful things about the city. Its a great place to bike with bike trails along the river. The food is spectacular and the place drips with history. One of the high lights of the trip was a visit to the Torpedo Factory .

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is the highlight of Alexandria's Potomac River waterfront, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually. Visit 82 artists' studios, six galleries, two workshops, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. Sign up for an art class with The Art League School. Then stroll along the waterfront, shop and sightsee on nearby historic streets, have a picnic on the dock behind the art center, or eat in the area's many fine restaurants. If you are near Alexandria Virgina think about making a stop at the Torpedo Factory.

While in Washing DC I made a visit to the Nationa Gallery of Art. Here I am having an artist conversation with an old friend of mine Vincent van Gogh.
More than a century after his death, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) has become a legend, and his paintings are icons in the popular imagination. Their wide appeal, however, should not overshadow their importance in the development of modern art. For all their appearance of spontaneous creation, his works were rationally conceived. Striving to express visually his deepest feelings--whether of happiness or anguish--Van Gogh was innovative in his use of bold color contrasts and dynamic brushwork. The singular intensity he brought to painting became a source for many expressionist movements of the twentieth century. This selection of seventy-two paintings surveys Van Gogh's entire career, from the rural scenes he painted in Holland in the early 1880s to the sun-drenched wheatfields from his years in the south of France, to the last, more subdued landscapes of Auvers-sur-Oise painted shortly before his death in 1890.
Early Works .
Now I am home and pumped up to paint a new series.

Home Page Art by Delilah =

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Daffodils and Fruit

Daffodils and Fruit
Daffodils and Fruit, painting by Delilah Smith

The Daffodils

by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

About This Painting:
Daffodils and Fruit 9x12x1 1/2 oil on gallery wrapped canvas. The back is wired and this painting is ready to hang.

Media: oil
Size: 9 in X 12 in (22.9 cm X 30.5 cm)
Price: $135 USD

How to Purchase:

Buy this painting on PayPal
Price: $135 USD plus $10 USD s/h
Or, send me an email

Getting the Wheels Turning

I have a new running stroller; to take my cat running with me. I like to run but for right but my cat does not. Spring is just coming to Michigan and I have to get my sea legs or running legs back in shape again after the long winter. So what does this have to do with art?

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain or so I’ve been told. As you walk three main types of thought appear: Practical, Creative, and Observational.

Practical, like "It's a long time since the I clean off my desk and sent out a news letter," sets up mundane priorities and must-do lists.

Creative, like "What would happen if I started a new series of butterflies with an abstract quality?", This gives new insight, answers problems and lays the foundation for what happens next.

Observational, like "Wow the trees are starting to bud and did I see a daffodil starting to bloom. I notice yesterday, that I have pussy willows in the ditch by my driveway. Have they always been there and I just didn’t see them until I cut down the weed or did they just spring up?

With practice, you can rebalance the three main types of thought to your own needs. My idea has been to get attainable creative benefits. A slight uphill grade right out of the studio can get things going right away. Typically, the creative zone kicks in after a few minutes.

Other runners tell me walking/running with a talkative person can derail private thought keeps you from getting into the zone. If you must go with a friend, take a four-legged, mute or in my case a cat. Now you see why I have a new stroller.I have a friend I love to walk with so I will walk with her but I will run with my cat.

When my studio work comes to a block, problem need to be focused on,I will put down my brush grab my cat and stroller and go for a run, blood will soon be checking out the remote corners of my brain. Answers will materialize like gifts and creativity will surge.

I've noticed that fresh ideas know no geographic spot. They merely appear can go in a moment so I always carry a notebook in my pocket just one of those small 99 cent ones and a pencil. I like a pencil because I can also sketch an idea if one should pop into my head, particularly on longer walks/runs. That is the nice thing about the running stroller, there is lots of rum for stuff: extra coat, coffee, note book and pencil. So running/walking really get the mental wheels turning also the stroller wheels .

"The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." (Henry David Thoreau) "Going out for a walk, I really found I was going in." (John Muir) "Angels whisper when we walk." (Raymond Inmon)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A daily painting

I always start my daily paintings with a drawing. Sometimes it is on paper like I did today or sometime it is right on the canvas. I wasn't sure how I would put the dragonfly in the painting so I played around with a few quick sketches on paper first, then I put the drawing on the canvas.

After I had the drawing down I started putting in the base colors. The drawing is never detailed because it will be painted over.

Here we are with the finished painting.

Coffee Klutch
6x6x1 1/2
Oi on gallery wrapped stretched canvas