This was commissioned by a woman, whose nieces and grandchildren were visiting her, as a special remembrance of their day at the beach. I feel extrememly lucky to be able to make a living doing what I love AND bring so much joy to others who appreciate my work. She hugged me when I showed it to her ;)
Having painted this particular grouping of palm trees before, I thought I'd revisit it this morning in preparation for the "Painting Palm Trees in Oils" class I'll be teaching at Keeton's Art Supply Store in Bradenton next month. When I started out the scene was all in shadow, but I knew from experience that the light would play its way across the sand and touch the palm trees in due time, so I worked on laying in the big masses and getting my drawing right to start. When painting outdoors, anything more than about 2 hours and you're lights/shadows will have all changed. The scene will look entirely different than when you started, so inevitably you'll end up chasing the light (a big no no!) or painting from memory. This is why I generally try and keep my plein air paintings to a maximum of about 2 hours. Towards the end of that time frame the morning light began to creep across this sand dune. I was then able to put on "the magic" (aka the light) as I painted into the effect of the moment.
One of the perks of my job (besides having the best of office views!) is that I often meet the nicest people while I'm painting on the beach! This family set up their umbrella in the shade just as I was setting up my easel... then they ended up taking the painting home with them as a special remembrance of their beach vacation!
Last week my husband and I took our 2 kids on a 10 day trip to Italy... truth be told, we ate our way through Italy! We were in Rome for 3 days, where I lived during my Junior year of college on RISD's European Honors Program 20 years ago, then traveled a couple hours north of Rome to the region of Umbria. In-between indulging in morning cappuccinos, multiple cups of gelato, plates of pasta & pizza, visiting old friends and seeing the "must see" sights, I did manage to squeeze in a little painting!
In addition to working at my easel, I also did a little mural job while I was there. I have a friend
in Umbria who'd recently had a tree removed along the side of her 300 year old farmhouse, which exposed a big empty brick wall next to what used to be an old pig sty (now an elegant covered outdoor dining area.) She commissioned me to paint a small mural on the wall and, since her house has somewhat of a "pig theme" running throughout it (and she has a wonderful sense of humor,) painting a pig looking out a window just seemed a perfect fit!