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New Year New Challenges

I look forward to the period after the holidays when I can create in my studio from about Dec 24 through the end of February. This wintery time is ripe for trying new things and working indoors in my space. No art shows to worry about, too cold for pop-ups.

It's the time I paint for ME.

I focused this year on a few themes:

  • Working larger

  • Bringing more Drama

  • Night Scenes

  • Images of the new Cary Downtown Park

Working Big

The first piece I tackled in 2024 was a large oblong 24" x 40" gallery-wrapped canvas I had lying around for ages. It was a larger size than I typically paint and had an unusual aspect ratio. The piece is the ideal size for hanging above my queen-sized bed. I wanted to paint something very different from my usual subjects and not work form a photo. The result: "Birches by the Lake". I created it without using a reference photo, just color on canvas.

My second large-scale challenge was in watercolors. I usually stick to very standard sizes of 8"x 10", 9" x 12", and 11" x 14" but recently I bought paper measuring 22" x 30". At that size, I can put the paper up on my floor easel and step back from it to view the overall composition much better than hovering over a small work. I can also attempt more complicated compositions, while freely applying a well-loaded large brush.

The scene below is still a work in progress but getting close.

Watercolor is deceptive. You do not have to complete a whole painting in one go. It's great when you can, but the medium is forgiving if you invest in decent paper and paint, which I do. This beach scene should be finished in one more go as I tighten up the reflections in the sand and give more definition to the waves. I hope you enjoyed the peak into the process.

Adding Drama

I am also working on a 20 x 30" canvas of a scene of koi in a lilypad pond, from a photo I took at Duke Gardens last year. In "Koi Pond" I am finding edges between lights and darks to add drama. I also am using the reflective highlights in the water to create movement and contrast.

This one is closer to completion, and I will show you the results in my next newsletter. (Sign up!)

Night Scenes

Scenes depicting nighttime have their own sense of drama. Night scenes often include streetlights, reflections on windows and pavement, and silhouettes of pedestrians. The scene below was taken from a photograph I shot in the early evening at a local brewery. I love the vibrant yellows against the deep dark purple-blacks.

Downtown Cary Scenes

Lastly, I have created a series of smaller watercolors with the main subject being Downtown Cary and its brand-new Downtown Cary Park. This destination is becoming so popular with people from around the region that I felt it was essential to capture it. I will be printing notecards and giclee prints from the most successful of these images. You can find them in My Shop and also at my booth at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market on the first Saturday of every month starting in March, and at the Cary Night Market on March 16.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek behind the scenes of my winter painting season. Thank you for following along on my art journey. Feel free to leave me a comment about what you like the most. If you have a project you are thinking about, don't be shy. Send me an email and we can get started on something special made just for you.

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