March 4, 2012

Second in Series of Lancaster Central Park Pictures

Library in Late Winter
Watercolor on Canvas
10 x 8"

Library in Late Winter -- This little watercolor on canvas is the second in a series of paintings I’ve done based on feedback I got about photos I posted on my blog.  It’s of the winterberries against the Shuts Environmental Library on the grounds of the Lancaster County Park.  In the 1700’s, the original owners of this federalist style farmhouse probably owned the land on which the county’s Central Park now sits.  I believe the home was derelict for many years, and I am so glad that that instead of tearing it down, they turned it into the environmental house in 1991.   You can see a distant side view of the same building in the background of my previous painting, “Oh, You Nut ... hatch.”  
I’m also going to post it on my gallery on the Dailypaintworks site. 
 Hope you enjoy it.

March 2, 2012

Daily Painting -- Oh, You Nut ... hatch

Oh, You Nut ... hatch
Watercolor on canvas
10 x 8"
 Late this winter, I took a number of pictures while on a day out in Lancaster County, and I posted them on this blog and on my Facebook page.  I asked people what they wanted me to paint some day.  I got a number of responses about what people liked, and then promptly got too involved doing business-related things on the web to remember to do that.  Yesterday, I was thinking, "What to paint today?", and I remembered my commitment.  So I looked over the pictures people said that they liked, and this is the result.

This picture is of a white breasted nuthatch hanging from a pine limb at the Lancaster County Central Park. I love watching these natural acrobats zip up and down, and around and around a tree. They're easily distinguished from other small birds because they hang upside down as they quickly circumnavigate the tree to unearth bugs underneath the bark.  I think this behavior of acrobatically arching away from the tree is their way of getting a general look around.

Shuts Enviromental Library
Lancaster County Central Park
For people who are interested in how I make compositional decisions when I paint -- particularly starting with photo references, I've provided the two photo references I used to create this piece.  I'll share the process I went through with this little painting.

I looked over what people said they liked and thought would make interesting paintings.  I also considered comments they offered.  A couple of people liked the pictures of the nuthatch, but when looking at it, I agreed with one comment that said the background was dull.  If you look at the photo of the nuthatch below, you'll see what I mean. The colors are dull and their values too close to that of the bird to be as eye catching as I wanted.
Original of nuthatch

   I quickly realized that a logical alternative background   would be one located within the Lancaster County Central Park where this nuthatch shot was actually taken.

I chose the long view of the park's environmental library (pictured above) as the new background because it was interesting, but also distant enough to remain secondary to the nuthatch in the painting.  If you notice, I chose to paint building and its surroundings in softer focus, and with paler hues than the original to keep viewers focused on the bird.  I also slightly altered where the little evergreen branch was in the foreground, and placed my signature in a way that visually linked the tree limb and the little branch.  In so doing, I provided a visual path down the limb, along my signature, up the branch to the nuthatch.

I'd welcome any comments or suggestions about this -- or future work. If you want to look into purchasing this piece, go to my gallery page on

March 1, 2012

Daily Painting -- Little Ball of Fur

Little Ball of Fur - Watercolor on Canvas, 12 x 12"
I'm posting it as a "Buy It Now"  option
on my Daily Paint Works Auction for $60
This painting started out as something else.  I had an image of my nieces' black cat that we took on this wonderful cushion.  However, as I painted it, the color I got wasn't a black I wanted, but it was a chocolate brown that I liked.  So, I decided to go to make the animal that color.  However, after a little while, the painting seemed to beg to morph into an image of a puppy.

It's strange.  That doesn't often happen when I'm painting.  Normally, I have a pretty clear image of what I want when I start a painting.  But, this painting's "call" came to me made me remember hearing something various authors have talking about.  Writers said that sometimes as the wrote, certain characters just forced them to change how they, or  the story evolved.    So, in the name of artistic flexibility, I lengthen a leg here, lighted an shadow there, added a highlight on the puppy's snout, and out came this cute little ball of fur.  Enjoy.

Later today I'm posting it on my DPW gallery page as an experiment, I normally post works as part of an auction.  However, I'm going to try the "buy it now" option and price it for $60.00 to see how that works.

I'd welcome any comments or suggestions.