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This is the second time I have added a touch of acrylic paint to my printed graphic in order to add depth and contour. Just the sky is left untouched. To bring it to life I added just the top of a pressed ginkgo leaf and a carnation petal as foreground and to lend perspective, I also added some fern ‘trees’ in graduated sizes.

With the start of the show season just weeks away (my first show will be Craftopia at Hope Artistes Village in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on Sunday, April 27) Meanwhile, this one is the latest addition to my Etsy shop.

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My daughter, Emma and her boyfriend, Nick recently brought me some lovely flowers including some brightly colored carnations. I thought they were perfect for a trial run with my new microwave flower press — a gift from my other daughter, Shelley. The press yielded great results right out of the gate and will allow me to use more flowers in my work. ! I’m sure I will find inspiration for many designs with these pretty petals but this one was irresistible.

This piece is also a departure in that it combines computer graphics with acrylic painting for the background. I used a deep brownish yellow printed foreground to support painted grasses. The plants other than carnations are fern and ginkgo. As always, I varied the size of the fronds to create depth of field.

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I’ve recently made a few pieces that include water drops in the background including this little composition using real ferns so it’s not that big a leap to work directly on a leaf. This dramatic sweet potato leaf made the perfect canvas for this experiment.

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Just over a month away from the beginning of the 2014 show season has me excited to move forward. This year it will be in three directions. While I am continuing enthusiastically with my graphic-based botanicals, I am equally excited to be working simultaneously on leaf painting in acrylic and on real pressed botanicals mounted on original watercolor and acrylic painted backgrounds. This is my latest example of the last group. Come and see it in April at Craftopia or grab it first on Etsy.

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While I plan to continue designing lots of fun graphic images for my pressed botanicals in 2014, I am also enjoying working with watercolors. This simple background of water drops on a pink and coral wash provides the support for one of my favorite plants for pressing – Mexican feathergrass. I have a second one in the wings and some thoughts of painting insects to hover above the a feathergrass meadow. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I popped this one into my Etsy shop this morning. Happy New Year to all my friends and followers.

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Until now I’ve created backgrounds for my real pressed botanicals on computer. To compliment that body of work, I recently began adding a series of acrylic paintings with similar subjects.

My last two pieces combine both disciplines. Instead of computer graphics, I have created bacgrounds on original watercolors. So far, I’m having fun with the process. I popped these two into my Etsy shop tonight and will show them next week in Stonington at the Velvet Mill.

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It occurs to me that while I often make mention of projects in the works and talk about process, I have never posted a photo of an unfinished piece until now

Today I am working on a companion piece to the scented geranium and fig leaf pairing I posted earlier in the week.

I prefer to begin these paintings by blocking in the negative spaces. Although I did so in this case as well, my plan was to show the geranium, this time, in summer colors rather than in the soft tans it turns to in the pressing process. The variety in my garden is variegated with light yellow to white ruffled edges and I needed to see it on canvas before settling on a final background color. The dark raw umber that I chose after blocking in the leaf will serve well to bring out its contrasting colors.

As the work goes along, I will add layers of pigment gradually reducing the degree of transparency you see both in the background and foreground at this early stage. It seems fitting that the background be the color of the rich soil this plant grows in. When I turn my attention to the space left for the ginko leaf, the background color will now dictate the shades of chartreuse that I choose to represent the spring colors of that lovely tree.

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As winter sets in, I’m going back and forth between creating new graphics for my sizeable harvest of ivy, ginkgo, and dozens of other plants, and using those same leaves as inspiration for a new series of acrylic paintings that mirrors my pressed botanical compositions. I love the freedom of choosing color schemes and degree of detail in the paintngs. I’ll bring about ten of them to the Velvet Mill in Stonington on December 28 and January 4th. Hope to see some familiar faces there. Others will pop up on Etsy soon or on request.

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In between working on my pressed botanicals, I have decided that my winter project will be a return to some painting. In years past I have concentrated on landscapes and portraits, but now I plan to stay with my botanical theme. Don’t know yet how the series will develop. The image above is 18 x 20 and features ginkgo — one of my favorite leaves. I’d almost forgotten how quickly the process of painting makes me lose track of time. That’s a good thing unless it’s 2:00 AM on a work day.

Looking forward to meeting friends at the Yellow House on the 24th.

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With nearly 30 original pieces now on display at the Yellow House in Stonington Borough, the pressure is on to make some work for my next commitment in Providence on November 17. The first ginko of the year is ready to go with lots more in the wings so I worked on this combination in muted tones and added just a bit of pastel to highlight the lovely natural ribbing in the ginko leaf.

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