Thursday, October 22, 2009

Michigan Dune

Somewhat of a prosaic title, but to me, dunes in Michigan seem a strange idea, although I think Michigan does have the most coastline of any state in the union. The lakes surrounding this state are a gorgeous turquoise blue and trees grow quite close to all of them. We spent some time on a peninsula where cherry orchards and vinyards flowed over gentle hills right down to the sand and water. Absolutely beautiful!

This scene is at a park. I have not painted Lake Superior which is only a few yards from the right edge, but I concentrated on the looming trees that are starting to cast a shadow on the sand dune.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

oldie but goodie

Featured quite awhile ago, I wanted to re-post this painting again in the spirit of the pumpkin season! This is one of my favorite paintings and is centered on the title page of my website: fawkesfeather studio.

Many of my paintings and watercolors on this website have been sold so it is time for a major update. I have been focusing on landscapes recently and hope to expand that section under "places". Tomorrow: new painting of trees and sand dune next to Lake Superior. Hopefully, I will have a title for this painting by the time I post it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

forest for the trees

My husband and I stayed at a beautiful French Tudor mansion hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan this summer. Down at the coast level of Mackinac Island are beautiful homes and tourist attractions, but if you hike or bike or take a horse drawn cab (no cars allowed on the island) up the hill, through the woods, and down some trails, you will come across this "home" once owned by a meat-packer industrialist.

This is a view of part of the front lawn, a wonderful grassy expanse with tall trees. I loved the way the sunlight made interesting striation patterns from the tree shadows. This was one of our best vacation trips ever and we hope to go back to this place again.

As for the painting - I did this quickly, in less than a day. It is a 10 x 10 inch canvas. Square formats can be difficult, and again, only 4 trees are featured (even number of objects are also tricky to handle). But I like this little painting and may not offer it for sale at my upcoming "show", the annual St. Nicholas Day sale at a local Episcopal Church. I will be showing my paintings there along with another painter, Jean Beckham. Email me for details if you are interested in attending!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


My daughter and I were south of Portland last summer, driving around on a beautiful July day. I took a photo of this site as it seemed to evoke the feeling of the landscapes all around. I could spend all of July and August in Maine!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Four Trees kept bothering me. The trees were realistic in color, the field was an abstraction, the painting was confused. I decided that the idea I started with was to go with color and shape; I wasn't interested in going back to depicting grass in the same manner as the trees. So, I worked a lighter color onto the trees to try to unify the painting. I lost the illusory effect (small as it was) of the leaves and now have something that is an idea of four trees in a field with the color changed to match what I want in my mind, not what I saw that day in the pasture.

I'm feeling my way here, with words on this blog and with paint on my palette. Landscapes that I see in the world are my starting point. The parts I keep in the composition and the colors I mix are an unconscious beginning of where I'm headed.


I zoomed in on my painting "Four Trees" to show the palette knife work on the colors. I like the composition here better than the entire painting. If it was a work on paper, I'd cut it. We'll see. I might like this painting better as time goes by.

At Last

After a long break, I'm back to painting. I touched up this one, 18 x 24 inches, after looking at it for 6 weeks. "Too flat" was the consensus of my husband and son, so I added more color to the foreground, the trees, and then some more to the trees. There is no bright sunlight in this painting unless you consider the overhead sun on a cloudy day at noon which does flatten everything visually in a landscape. The elements become more important and I'm not sure about an even number of trees. But I was initially struck by the trees in a line on a field with a treeline behind them, and the color play of the shapes, especially the negative space of the field around, behind, and between the trees.

Next post: a close-up