Just because you enter an art show, doesn't mean you will get in. They are usually peer reviewed by other artists, so to be selected is pretty awesome. My painting (on the bottom of the easel) was selected for the Dutch Art 2017 Gallery Spring Show with the theme Call of the Wild. The opening reception was last Saturday, May 20, 2017. I knew the competition was tough as the art at the show was really good. The show will stay open for several months. Try to see it!
My neighbor across the street has a bed of violet irises that glow every morning and evening for about a month. In this painting, I tried to captured how they glow in the sun against the dark shadows behind them. I have enjoyed them, Lisa!
A dear friend commissioned me to create a smaller version of one of my paintings. So, here it is, a field of Queen Anne's Lace on the harbor in Orleans, MA. This one is unique as it has several butterflies and flying insects on the flowers, as it actually did in the field.
Come enjoy the reception this Saturday at the Dutch Art Gallery, 10233 E. Northwest Hwy #420, Dallas. Have a glass of wine and view all the beautiful paintings. See my entry in the show below. Ann McCann
I used to take all my oil painting supplies with me when I traveled, easel, chair, paints, brushes, etc. It is nice to have all your supplies with you. However, it costs a lot to carry an extra suitcase for all of this. I have taken all that stuff to Europe four times and many times to Cape Cod. I have a rolling backpack that will hold of these supplies, though you can't take oil paint or mediums (like turpentine) through security. Those have to go in your luggage. I bury them under my clothes, just in case.
These days, I have cut back extensively on the supplies I carry. I take a sketch book, small set of watercolors, brushes, pencil, ink marker and camera. On site, I do a pencil sketch, then apply ink and then watercolor. I finish by taking photos of the site to help me create an oil painting in my studio. Then I also have nice watercolor journals of my trips.
I painted this in the style of Claude Monet. It has a lot more texture than Monet's work as I painted it with a knife instead of a brush. The warm and cool complementary colors vibrate, and it is big enough to have some presence on your wall. It is painted on the sides, so it does not need to be framed. I have been to this pond in Giverny, France and there is a lot of red foliage that reflects into the pond.
I'm sure it helps to have a good aesthetic sense and a good eye for color. However, drawing and painting skills are not instinctive or inborn. They certainly were not for me. I did not draw or paint much as a kid. I shied away from art classes in junior high, high school and college, because I thought I would do badly! Fortunately, much of the skills can be learned with instruction and especially practice. If I could have practiced every day, I would have learned faster. But, since I had a day job, I had to stick to art in the evenings and on weekends, and it took me about 20 years. This means there is hope for any of you who want to be an artist!
The first time I really got the nerve to promote and sell my paintings was during a 30 Day Challenge sponsored by Leslie Saeta in fall 2014. A fellow artist was planning to participate and she encouraged me to do so also. This involved painting every day for a month, and for someone with a day job, that was very difficult. I sometimes painted 3-5 paintings on the weekends to keep up. Every day I would post my painting on the Challenge site as well as my own Facebook page. My friends/followers really got into it and looked forward to seeing the daily painting. They encouraged me and told me what they liked about each one. I was very encouraged by all the positive feedback. I began selling some of them and that was really rewarding for me. That was when I decided to declare myself an artist and commit to entering the painting business.
My painting of Big Bend was selected to be in the Spring Show with a "Wild" theme at the Dutch Art Gallery in Dallas. The show opens on May 20, 2017.
My husband and I went to Fredericksburg, Texas in early May to see the wildflowers, especially the bluebonnets. it wasn't the most spectacular year, but it was still very beautiful. We painted plein air at my favorite spot on the Willow City Loop road. This one spot has everything, flowers, a running stream, distant mountains, etc. I made the mistake of wearing regular lotion instead of sunscreen and got my first sunburn for many years. A rancher stopped by to warn us not to walk the property due to the number of rattlesnakes. That kept me from wandering off the roadside!!
When I tell people that I paint, they always says, O that must be really relaxing." I always laugh inside, because it is not relaxing at all. If I am painting outside, yeah the sun and wind feel good but it is not relaxing. You are actually concentrating very intensively. As they say, you are "in the zone." The world drops away, and the only thing that matters is the painting. You paint as fast as you can while being the zone lasts. After several hours, you get tired, and the world around you comes back. That is the time to take a break or put your brush down for the day. If I paint in the evening, I have trouble falling asleep, because my brain is over stimulated from being in the zone so long!
"Wild Seed Poppies" by Ann McCann 8 X 8 Oil (c) 2017
We just got back from wild flower painting in Fredericksburg, Texas. The Wild Seed Farm there has several fields of red and variegated poppies. It is so glorious to see these whole fields of red. While we were there, we heard some very loud metal crashes and sure enough, people stopping their cars to gaze at the red fields caused a chain car crash! This small painting can be purchased at the Dutch Art Gallery in Dallas.
I initially took a lot of evening classes at a local university, drawing and painting human models, still lifes and portraits, in addition to my weekend plein air class outdoors. I painted with pastels and watercolors, in addition to oils. You draw with pastels and there is no color mixing. It is very immediate, and the myriad colors are lovely. Watercolor is trickier and less forgiving. You have to start with the light colors first and slowly go darker. You can’t change dark colors once they are laid and you also need to leave white spaces. This is just the opposite of oils, where you start with your dark values first, and you can paint over your mistakes.
I slowly worked up to using my oils more and more over time. One of the best learning experiences with oils was participating in the 30 Days-30 Paintings Challenge by artist Leslie Saeta. Painting every day improved my technique much more rapidly. Oils are less fragile than either pastels or watercolors and are less expensive to frame: no matting or glass is required. So, I decided to focus on oils. However, I still like to sketch with watercolors when I travel. I can carry everything I need in a small bag.
Plein air painting is conducted outdoors and ideally in one session. I plein air painted every Saturday for 15 years with classes taught by Suzanne Kelly Clark, soaking up the light and fresh air of Texas (except for July and August!) Besides enjoying the outdoors, you see subtle changes in light and shadow within three dimensions which a photo cannot capture. A photo flattens space and is pretty much just light and dark. Even if I end up finishing the painting in my studio, it is better for being created plein air, looser, fresher, etc. You really need to be in that landscape and experience the light and colors of that spot to convey that onto the canvas.