Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marco Island, A Week In Paradise

Snow, snow, snow! It seems like it snows almost every other day and like everyone else, I'm so tired of this weather. Fortunately our friends invited us to spend some time with them on Marco Island, Florida to escape the winter weather. My husband and I bundled up in our wool sweaters and coats and headed for the airport, hopped on a plane and left the winter behind. Marco Island was warm (82 degrees) and beautiful. Every where I went I was inspired by the beauty of the island- sunsets, beach and the animals. I ended up taking over 200 photos, some of which I intend to turn into paintings. I decided to share some of my favorite photos.

The marina is inhabited by a flock of Pelicans. While my husband and his friend were cleaning the fish they caught I decided to take some pictures of the marina. I was amazed that this Pelican let me get close to him to take this picture. I was only 6 inches away when I snapped the picture. This guy is the bird in the front on the bottom picture.

The marina was also home to a beautiful Snowy Egret. He was a little more shy than the Pelicans so I had to zoom in to snap this photo.

While walking on the beach, I was able to get fairly close to this group of Royal Terns.

The sunsets on the beach were so beautiful.

Our week in paradise has ended and we flew back to freezing weather and snow (of course) but as I look at these pictures I feel optimistic that I can endure these last few weeks of winter.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Watercolor Ballet Dancer

Degas is one of my favorite impressionist artists. I love his paintings of Ballet Dancers. I was really happy to find of book of Degas Drawings of Dancers on Amazon. The book contains 41 pages of Degas' drawings-some are sketches or preparatory studies and some are finished drawings. Like many artists, I like to copy the works of the Masters in order to improve my drawing skills so this book was just what I was looking for. After helping my husband clear our driveway after the last snow bombardment (3 ft. this time)I shoveled a path to our mailbox so our mail carrier would have no trouble delivering my books. The book arrived on Saturday and by Saturday evening I had chosen my drawing-"Battements" on the Toes at the Barre. Since I usually draw animals the initial blocking in was a little awkward. I had no prior experience in drawing a person but found that once I got past the initial blocking in, the actual drawing got a lot easier.

 Brittany has found that one of the perks of having a mother who is an artist is that she never has to buy art work unless she wants a particular piece. Having just moved into a new apartment she has been asking for paintings and prints to decorate her walls. She knows that I am only to happy to oblige and that I usually have finished works laying around my studio that I can frame and send off to her. This painting reminds me of Brittany when she studied ballet so this one is destined to be sent to her.

Preparatory sketch.
Under painting in progress.
For this painting I used Masters Touch watercolors (available at Hobby Lobby) and Canson watercolor paper. I've tried other brands of watercolor paper including Strathmore but Canson is my favorite. I like the tooth of the paper, it tends to hold the color a little better than the other papers that I have tried. The Dancer's arms and legs were done with a preliminary wash of flesh; the dress is a wash of rose and white to make a light pink; the bow is rose plus the light pink mixture and the shoes are light pink mix and flesh to make a ballet pink. The dress is painted with a wash of light pink and blended out from the edges to the middle by loading a clean brush with water, then picking up the paint along the edges with the brush and painting toward the center.