Hey there, Dahlia

A few months ago, my friend posted a beautiful picture of a Dahlia flower on Facebook. To date, I hadn’t painted a close-up lone flower – the fear of all that detail – but I have seen many artists accomplish the task beautifully and I felt up for the challenge. What could be more perfect for Spring?

The Dahlia originated from Mexico and was discovered in the 16th Century by Spanish adventurers. There are over 20 known species resulting in thousands of hybrids. The Dahlia is unique because it has six genes rather than the standard two found in most flowers; therefore it can take on a myriad of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Red Jacket

Red Jacket was a still life assignment in class.  I usually don’t care for painting a still life subject, but this one I was eager to paint. I love Red and Jackets! I must own 20 or 30 (much to my husband’s chagrin!) I began the painting in class and then finished it up in the evening at home.

Adding more life and movement into the piece with the shadows and blending really made it start to “pop”. Not quite sure about the orange heels though! They were actually more of a gold color, but I like the contrast of the two bright colors against each other.

I originally saw my Mom in this painting. The jacket is something she would wear and the mum – she loves flowers. I was not to surprised when she saw it and loved it! This one’s for you Mom – Enjoy!

10"x 14" Pastel Still-Life on Canson Pastel Paper
10″x 14″ Pastel Still-Life on Canson Pastel Paper

Ireland

My friend Sheila and her husband recently took a trip to Ireland. Upon seeing some of her photos, I was blown away by the utter and sheer beauty of the images. I commented that they would make an incredible painting and offered to do a landscape for my friends.

The photograph was taken near Gormans Clifftop House, a local top-rated B&B on the Dingle peninsula in Kerry, Ireland.  I learned from the owner that the pool in the rocks is known as Loch na gCaorach (pond of the sheep). It is believed that sheep were dipped in the lake long ago. It was also a gathering place for the woman where they would gather and wash the coarse flour bags, which would then be adapted for many uses, such as sheets or babies diapers.

Bowl & Flowers

Bowl & Flowers is a still-life practice piece. My main purpose here was working the shadows, especially on the concave bowl. This is a complete learning experience, and I know that it will take time.

Obviously, I am a complete novice with oils, but want to include all my paintings to reflect my journey. Hopefully, 10 years from now, I’ll look back and laugh at this and see how far I’ve come!

Yellow House

Yellow House
18″x24″ Pastel on Canson Pastel Paper adapted from photograph

For this assignment we each chose a photograph to use for inspiration. Our teacher, Lois Jones, is teaching us how to edit what we see instead of painting the entire photograph. First we use a viewfinder to crop the image, then do quick charcoal sketches. From there, we pick the sketch that speaks to us.

I was drawn to the bright purple flowers and green grass against the pale house. I love the combination of gold, purple, and green so I decided to make the house more of a golden color. I really struggled with the trees; in the picture they were barely visible. I gave them more life by using a pointillism technique. Overall, I was very happy with the end result.