New painting and I’m ready for summer

The weather has been so rainy that I haven’t been able to paint outdoors yet this season. I’ve still been working from photographs I took last year, which result in seasonably inappropriate finished work…lots of fall and winter over here, oops!

I just finished one that I love–of sunshine glowing through fall foliage, inspired by a photo I took on Tufts’ campus last year. I’m proud of it partly because it’s the largest canvas I’ve worked on since I was in college (2 feet by 3 feet)–but also because it shows that I’ve finally vanquished my fear of painting leaves and trees. For years I avoided painting trees and especially fall leaves. I thought I just couldn’t do it well so I shouldn’t try. But I’ve realized that I was just being a bit lazy…once I faced up to just doing the work and paying attention to the detail, I really enjoy it!

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The painting in process, before I decided that having the figure in the background was too distracting.
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Finished product, minus figure

In other news, I also started an Instagram account just for my paintings and process, @cara_paints. Once I do start painting outdoors, I’ll be documenting it there! I can’t wait to stop painting fall things and instead paint what’s around me now.

In search of the perfect blue

I’ve been having a lot of fun working on this¬†project. It’s acrylic on canvas, based loosely on a photo I took last spring of apple blossoms against a blue blue sky. I’m usually not as comfortable working with acrylics–I always forget that you can’t mix up a large batch of one color before you need to use it, because it will dry, or that you can’t easily work wet on wet the way you can with oils. I loved acrylics here though. They worked well to create a bright, flat background blue and allow for bright contrasting colors layered on top, without having to wait days (or weeks!) between layers like you would with oils.

They also make it easy to cover up mistakes. I first painted the sky and started adding trees and flowers when I realized I had totally the wrong blue pigment.

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But then I painted over everything with a much better blue–this time I mixed ultramarine blue and phthalo blue instead of just using ultramarine. Finally getting the blue just right gave me a ridiculous sense of satisfaction!

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Finished painting. I am at peace with the world, and my shade of blue. For the moment!

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A work in progress

I took this photo of a winter sunset on my street last year, and this winter I’m turning it into an oil painting. All year round when I’m out walking I take photos of trees, sky, buildings, street scenes, or other subjects that I think I might want to paint someday. I try to take a few photos with slightly different angles and lighting. I dislike exactly copying a photo when I paint, so having a few different images to work from allows me to extrapolate and get the feeling of the scene while helping free me up from trying to create an exact copy.

I’ve still got a ways to go with this one–I’m stuck at that point where I have to decide whether to go for a lot more detail or a lot less detail. And I need to darken up the buildings and create more contrast. But I love the colors, and I just bought a tube of this gorgeous purple which (mixed with a lot of other things) is perfect for the snow on the roof. And it makes me happy.

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