June 30, 2014

Toys in Farmland

Toys in Farmland 1, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8",
by Tracy Feldman
Last weekend, one of our local towns held its annual Garden Show -- where local people open their gardens to be toured.  It raises money for their historical association.  We attended it, and discovered that one of the participants not only had lovely plants on display, but a wonderful collection of children's pedal tractors that he bought and lovingly restored. With the magic of paint, I slightly relocated this Massey Harris pedal tractor in front of the distant Amish farm because I loved the composition it made and the way the red of the tractor sang against the beautifully tended lawn of its owner.

I haven't decided if I'll make this part of a series.  What do you think?  Hope you enjoy.

As usual, I have put this little work up for auction in my Daily Paintworks Gallery.  Check it (and the other works for sale) there if you are interested.

June 28, 2014

Lancaster County, I Still Love You

Amish Barn in Sun and Shadow, 8 x 10", oil on canvas, Tracy Feldman
Recently, I've been doing a lot of paintings of interesting things in places that are not my home county.  So today I'm sharing a little oil I did of one of the very typical scenes we see in Lancaster County.  I call it Amish Barn in Sun and Shadow.  Our county is the one that the Amish first settled in in the US (arriving around 1730) from southern Germany and parts of Switzerland.

The Amish still live in our part of Pennsylvania in sizable numbers, and like their forefathers, farming -- including dairy farming -- is still a major way they earn their livings.  The old order Amish don't use electricity (for the most part), so their barns still are designed to easily house the cows and the hay, etc. to feed them without needing to have a lot of fancy (electrical) equipment to hoist the hay into the hay lofts.  Thus, an "Amish barn" is distinguished partly by the fact that it is either built into a hill, or a hill is simulated by creating on one side of the barn a ramp on which the hay can be brought in for the winter.  This barn has one of the simulated hill entrances.  Like with other Amish barns, the far side of the barn is on ground level to make it easy for the farmers to bring their cows and horses in.  Notice that this barn also has another typical "Lancaster County" feature: silos to ferment and preserve corn for cows to eat in the winter months. Because the Amish don't use big farm equipment, the average size of a Lancaster farm is small (only around 86 acres), so when you have a long view of the countryside anywhere in our county, you will see scores of silos and Amish barns.

I painted this barn because I love the contrast of warms and cools as the late day sun shines on the barn that is silhouetted agains the steel gray of storm clouds.  Hope you enjoy it.

As with all others of my small works, I'm posting it for sale on my Daily Paintworks Gallery site.  So, if you are interested in this little oil, check out the auction there.

June 27, 2014

The Pride of Chelsea

The Pride of Chelsea, 8 x 10", Acrylic on Canvas, Tracy Feldman
I love doing work that has a twist, or at least more than one way of reacting to it.  This is another small painting that was inspired by our recent trip to Michigan.  Chelsea is a small town that was close to where I spent my summers when I was a child.  When we were little, and we were visiting from New York, Chelsea seemed a lovely, sleepy little town that we'd visit if we were sick (the doctor was there) or for a treat (the soft ice-cream place was there) or to compete in its annual town fair.  
It also is the home of a home of Jiffy corn bread mixes.  I never noticed the plant when I was a kid because there were so many other places to look.  But, as an adult, I discovered that the humble little corn bread mix that I have used so many times always was made there, and still is to this day.  Considering how many manufacturing jobs Michigan has shed gives this little plant even more pride of place in this town than it ever had -- even after Chelsea got a dusting of Hollywood when the actor and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels opened The Purple Rose theater and the Chelsea Grill in town.  That's partially why I named this work The Pride of Chelsea.  The second reason for the name comes from the car I included in the foreground.  It's my impression of a Corvette that was passing in front of the plant when I was taking the reference photos for this work.  Michigan is such a car state because Ford and General Motors and Chrysler (and all their sub companies) dominated employment in that state.  Thus Michigan folk are even more likely than the average American to be car buffs, and owning something like a classic Corvette tends to be a major source of pride.  Look at the outline of the driver in this car, even if there's almost no detail: the casual drape of the left hand over the steering wheel and the lounging posture of the driver seem to me to shout, "I am so cool (or at least my car is)".

But, the subject of the painting wasn't the only reason for this piece.  I love the classic one-point perspective where the lines of the buildings and the railroad track all go to a single vanishing point.  I hope you enjoy.  I'd love to hear your impressions.

 As I always do with my small works on this site, I am making this piece available for sale (by bid or direct buy) from my gallery on Daily Paintworks.com.

June 26, 2014

The Grill King

The Grill King, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8"
 by Tracy Feldman
We recently got back from visiting family in Michigan.  On one stop on our journey, we visited northern Michigan to spend time with my sister and her husband.  While there, we had a number of lovely meals grilled by my brother-in-law.  My husband sometimes kept him company while he grilled, and snapped a great photo of him making one of those great meals.

 I loved the contrast of darks and lights and the cools and warms in Arny's photo. So I decided to paint it. My brother-in-law is a great cook inside, as well as on a grill.  But for me this little painting captures the pleasure and pride that so many guys have when they can go outside and cook over an open fire -- even those who might never cook inside in the kitchen.  That is why I titled this work The Grill King.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed the chicken he was grilling.

As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts, too.

June 24, 2014

Once Again For Something Completely Different

Layered Levels of Cool, 10 x 10" Acrylic on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
I have been painting so many realistic paintings recently that I decided to dip my toe back into abstraction.  For the basis of this piece, I used a painting I did several years ago of the closeup of dark clouds at sunset.

     In the original photo, I loved the swirling darks and bright shot of orange against a shot of clear, mid-range blue sky.  The bright orange hue was created by the late day sun glinted off the edge of the super-dark clouds.  However, when I got the image down on canvas, the resulting piece just didn't click.

    So, when I was looking to do a layered abstract, I loved the idea of using this painting as the base for something completely new.  By covering sections of the work with tape, I preserved some of what I liked about the earlier piece -- the color and value (dark vs light) contrasts -- while creating a new image on top of the piece.

     In Layered Levels of Cool, I used tape to create a set of very sharp "lines" on top of the original.  Then, I swirled cooler, lighter, whites, greens, and yellows over that.  Lifting  the tape allowed me to recapture the very dark, cool blues, and the very warm orange of the sunset-lit cloud edge.  I then went back and put some of the mid-depth colors over a few areas of tape-created "lines" to mess with the depth perception even more.

     I really like this piece, and hope you do too.  One of the things I really like about it that isn't obvious from this photo is that the original canvas is an inch and a half deep so the image pours over the sides

    As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts too.

June 21, 2014

Of Dappled Light and Sandhill Cranes

Of Dappled Light and Whooping Cranes
This little work is another one of the images that I've painted based on things we saw on our summer trip to visit family.  This guy was regally strutting through a wooded area.  I loved the way the dappled light made the base of his neck and part of his back seem to glow.  I also really liked the warm and cool contrast of the colors.

Sandhill cranes are rare birds in many parts of the country.  People come from far and wide to see them wintering in parts of Texas, then in the summer they retire to the cooler climes of places like rural southeastern Michigan.  As a kid I didn't appreciate how special it was to see them because of the pedestrian setting we'd see them in: a grassy, abandoned farm field easily spotted from the back of my Aunt's Ford 150 pickup.  As an adult, I realized how lucky we were to have these relics of an ancient time grace the Waterloo recreation area.  Hope you enjoy this picture as much as I enjoyed once again viewing this old friend on a warm Michigan morning.

As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece. I'd love to hear your input, and your own memories of these elegant relics of the past.

June 12, 2014

Of Serendipity and Yellow Lady Slippers

Yellow Lady Slipper, 10 x 8", acrylic on canvas
by Tracy Feldman
I got inspired to create this little painting on our annual family trip to the mid-west.  Carol, a self-taught naturalist, and niece of my brother-in-law, Lenny, took us on a nature hike in the Waterloo Recreation area.  The primary purpose was so Lenny would be able to photograph a blue-winged warbler.  The bird never showed itself, but the trip wasn't wasted.  We had a great walk and just happened to be during the time when Yellow Lady Slippers were in bloom in a swampy area by one of the lakes.  What serendipity!

     I had never seen a yellow lady slipper before, but I've loved this relative of orchids since I first saw a pink lady slipper when I was around 4 years old.  We were visiting the cabin of family friends at the eastern end of Long Island. Today it might be hard to imagine, but in the 1950's much more of that area was pretty wild.   After the long drive we took to get to the cabin,  I was disappointed by how small and simple the cabin was. But then I spotted the pink lady slipper  at the edge of the property. Its delicate beauty captured me immediately and my fascination was only increased when our friend  Ken,  told me how lucky I was to see it since they were so rare and special.  That moment ignited a life-long love of flowers and nature. 

Pink Lady Slipper
      I took a number of images of the yellow lady slippers on the walk, and I may paint other of the images later.  I painted this image first because I love the mysterious nature of the out of focus foliage in the back, and how the dark values make the yellow of the slipper seem to glow.

     On the right is an image of pink lady slipper that I found on a forest service website , so if you want to learn more about these lovely, threatened wildflowers, check out the site.  Notice how the hood and leaves are proportionately so much longer than the "slipper" in the yellow lady slipper.  But, both are still beautiful.

   As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece.

June 6, 2014

It's Your Close-up, Peony

It's Your Close-up, Peony, acrylic on canvas,  8 x 10", by Tracy Feldman
     This little painting is a close up of one of my favorite late-spring flowers: a peony.  It's not one of the ones from our yard. We are traveling on our annual "great midwestern trek" to visit our families, and once again our peonies are blooming without us.  My husband photographed this beauty at Ann Arbor, Michigan's Arboretum.   He used one of the new toys for his camera: an extension tube.  It allows you to focus much more closely on objects than you can with a standard lens.

       I love how viewing objects from very close can give them a more abstract quality.   I also love the intense hues of this lovely peony.  I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed painting it.

    As with all the small paintings on this blog, if you are interested in buying It's Your Close-up, Peony, you can bid on him on my Daily Paintwork's gallery and auction site, or buy him directly on the site.  I hope you enjoy and would welcome any comments.

Peony Garden, Ann Arbor Arboretum, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2014)