I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who has bid on my online auctions! If you haven't checked them out in a few days, I have added several more original paintings to my auction site, with subjects ranging from beach to farm to garden. I plan to wrap up this online sale in a couple of weeks, so if you have been planning to bid on one of these paintings now is the time. Here's what's currently on the auction block:
Paintings of France, Italy, and Beyond ©Jennifer E Young
I've been struggling with a killer cold or allergy or something for over a week now, so it's really thrown me for a loop in the studio. But I have now finished the French village painting I have been blogging about in my last couple of posts (here and here). I did not have a chance to take any more progression shots due to the amount of time I lost, so my apologies to those who were following the progression of the work-in-progress.
There was a certain quality of light I was after in this painting...a slight haziness that comes on a warm day when the sun begins to filter through the clouds after a soft rain (the weather when I visited there could best be described as "changeable"!) So there are a soft edges and close values to tackle, especially in the middle and far distance.
St. Cirq Lapopie is a fortressed village dating back to the Middle Ages. Sitting high above the Lot River, it is, as I mentioned in my prior post, dripping with so much charm that it really does invoke fairy tales of knights and damsels in distress!Narrow cobbled streets wind their way through cliff-sides, leading up to a fortressed peak that allows stunning views of the steep tiled rooftops and the Lot valley.
There's been a lot happening around here so unfortunately the blog neglect has continued! I do hope to ramp up to more regular posting (and painting!) by early next week. Meanwhile, here are two new little Key West pieces I've done for a small works holiday invitational that opens at the Miller Gallery on November 20th in Cincinnati.
"The Shady Side" Oil on Canvas, 6x8" (SOLD) ©jJennifer Young
"Towering Bougainvillea" Oil on Canvas, 6x8" (SOLD) ©jJennifer Young
I am so honored to show my work in such a lovely looking gallery alongside artists of such fine caliber.
Well, I've stopped fooling myself that I'm going to get away any time soonÂ to work on larger oil paintings. Setting these kinds of impossible goals when we've scheduled back to back contractors for the new studio (painters, hvac, electrician/lighting) just sets me up for frustration. So the last time I stopped by my temporary painting space, I grabbed my watercolors and a few drawing supplies for a little painting at the "kitchen table studio". It's beenÂ some timeÂ since I've done any watercolor work, so it took me a while to get a feel for it.Â But it sure is nice to focus on something other than lighting fixtures, and the great thing about these kinds of pieces is that I can always later develop these compositions into larger oil paintings down the road:
"Private Garden, St. Cirq Lapopie" 9x12", Watercolor and Conte Crayon
I had the thrill of driving to the beautiful village of St. Cirq Lapopie (St. Cirq is pronounced something like "San Seer")Â at the tail end ofÂ my trip earlier this year to the Lot and Dordogne in southwestern France. It was a thrill because it was a breathtakingly beautiful location; but as well because my rental carÂ felt notÂ that much bigger (or safer) than a tin can, and Â the winding road that leads to the village hugs the cliffside that drops a few hundred feet to the Lot River below. This is a view of the village from the overlook near the parking lot:
Even though the hike down the near-shoulderless road was also treacherous, I'd have to say it was all well worth the risk. It's a touristed village, Â butÂ withÂ good reason. Wonderfully preserved 13th to 16th century Quercy buildings with pitched rooves line narrow streets overflowing with flowers. Â Perched high above the ambling Lot river, its "picture-book prettiness" has earned it the well deserved designation of one of France's most beautiful villages. To be sure, I'll be posting more paintings of this village (watercolors and eventually oils) in the days ahead.
As mentioned in my previous post, here's a new painting about to come off the easel. Maybe a touch or two yet to go, but mostly it's done. Photographing this painting was a bit of a challenge today due to a lack of good light. It's a pretty decent shot, though I may try a reshoot once the sun comes out:
"Wild Roses" Oil on Linen, 20x16" ©Jennifer Young
This is another scene from one of those beautiful misty mornings in southern France that I've written of before. Even though this was somewhat after the heavy fog had lifted, theÂ moist air remained, and the diffused, cool light kept everything soft but saturated.
One thing I've been learning from my plein air paintings is that even the less successful pieces done on location have a certain freshness to them (if I don't allow myself to work them beyond the point that I should).Â There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that I am painting from life.
But I've also noticed that the brush size-to-canvas ratio is much larger due to the smaller plein air canvases. I don't use tiny brushes (unless I need to sign my name) so I'm really forced to simplify. And I must say, by the very nature of the way I have to approach the painting, I often end up saying more with less.
I try to keep this in mind on days when I'm working on larger paintings in the studio, and to make a more conscious effort to retain that same kind of freshness and looseness. It's a different matter than plein air painting, but it's been helpful for me to consciously reach for the largest possible brushes to do the task at hand, and to *try* to state things as economically as possible rather than overworking.
It's not an overstatement to say that sometimes my greatest motivations are my limitations. Andin the field, time is a built-in task-master due to the ever-changing light. But in my studio, unless my schedule is crammed full of other chores (as it is soon about to become!) there usually isn't that same kind of urgency. Without that, it can really be tempting to noodle around endlessly.
In my studio work, along with relying a lot more on memory, my challenge is to supply my own urgency, and to work more quickly and loosely. All this and still have command of the paint. There's the rub. After all, loose and quick is pretty pointless if the drawing or composition is weak or if the values aren't right.
It's a lot to consider if you think about it, but it is a fun challenge for me, and hopefully in time I can continue to work even more effectively in this manner on larger canvases still.