Today's auction listing is for a loose, impressionist painting of North Carolina's Outer Banks. I painted this little 8x8" oil "en plein air" over the summer during our annual vacation down there. It's a special place and it's a trip I look forward to all year long! This auction will end on Wednesday, November 8th at 8 PM US Eastern time, or 5 PM Pacific.
Paintings of France, Italy, and Beyond ©Jennifer E Young
Some of the most romantic and beautiful moments of my Vinalhaven, Maine residency were when I awoke to see the island enveloped in mysterious fog. Attempting to paint that fog from life, however, takes actual work and perseverance. The shifting atmospheric effects on the land and the oh so subtle value ranges require astute concentration and alertness in the midst of the peaceful stillness.
Not too far from where I was staying sat a lovely field of wildflowers fronting some wetlands. Purple-violet lupines, as beautiful as any hothouse flower, grow wild throughout the region in spring, as do buttercups, pink clover, daisies, Queen Anne's lace, and numerous other beauties I wasn't able to name.
My 11x14" plein air piece (above) found its home on the island, but I wanted to return to that experience back in the studio while my memory of it was still fresh. I painted the larger version with a slightly different angle to include the hint of wetlands in the background in order to give it a better sense of place. Click through on the image below for more info.
This week I've just returned from our annual trip to the North Carolina Outer Banks. After a hectic start to the summer both my husband and I dearly needed some family vacation time to deflate, so we mostly swam, sunned, slept in, and ate a lot of seafood! Needless to say I didn't get a lot of painting done, but I did sneak out early one morning for some plein air sketching beneath the Avalon Fishing Pier:
What a difference a week makes. Last week the earth was still pretty brown and bare in our neck of the woods, but this week heralded in some lovely warm springlike weather. And with that came the flowers. Cherry blossoms and spring blooming magnolias seemed to open up over night, along with the daffodils and forsythia. I always feel such a great sense of hope and renewal in the springtime.
Tuesday is one of my two "long days" that I have to work, so I readied myself Monday night for my plein air outing. I decided that since this was my first plein air painting in a while, I should kick off with a known quantity. So I paid a visit to Maymont Park. This would prevent me from wasting time driving around looking for the perfect spot, as I had visited the week prior with my daughter and knew exactly where I wanted to set up.
Just one week earlier, I had brought my daughter to this beautiful park, and at the blooms were still pretty new. I was hoping against hope they would endure, and luckily I wasn't disappointed. Here's a shot of my work setting for the morning. Not a bad way to punch the time card, eh?
I've had a piece of Plexiglas cut to fit in the palette area. The brush holder is an envelope style with a little loop on the top, allowing me to loop it over the handle of my tripod and tuck into the back of the palette. The little jars are holding my oil and solvent free medium. You can't really see it in this picture, but those two clips on the left wing of the palette hold a mesh basket that I picked up in the $1 - $3 bin at Target. It has pockets around the perimeter suitable for holding the tubes of paint I reach for most often. I prefer this basket over a plastic bag for my dirty paper towels because it stays open. Also, it doesn't blow around in the wind.
I've only had this easel since the fall and it's already smeared with paint. I'm a slob; it's a problem. In any event, I look forward to smearing it up even more this spring!
In Hanover County, Virginia, where I now live, fall is particularly lovely. The profusion of green has given way to warm rich tones of gold, red and orange. October is pumpkin season, and you don't have to drive too far around here to find a roadside stand where you can pick up some pumpkins to decorate the front stoop. If you are feeling adventurous you can even take the kids to a pumpkin patch so they can pick their very own. Myself, I rather like leaving them put and painting them right where they are growing (in this case, the pumpkins, not the kids!).
This painting came about after getting a call from a painter friend of mine. She'd made arrangements to paint at the Hanover Vegetable Farm on one of the last days in October, and invited me to come along. I drive past this farm from time to time and I'd been eyeing those pumpkins for a couple of weeks. But for whatever reason, I hadn't gotten around to calling the proprietor up about painting there. So when the chance arose, I jumped on it. We got there around 8 a.m. The sun was low and the moon was still up. And of course, there were all of those cute round pumpkins gathering round the dirt path and echoing the shape of the waning moon.
While I have really loved painting with my water soluble oil paints in the studio lately, I painted this piece solvent free using traditional oils. I used a little bit of Gamblin's Solvent Free Gel for my medium, and cleaned my brushes with walnut oil. I'm happy to report that it worked out just fine. I am so glad to leave that messy can of toxic solvent out of the picture and just pack a little bottle of walnut oil and a small jar to swish my brushes in for cleaning.
It's been raining around here for the last couple of days and I am anxious to see if the foliage will hold up until the sun comes back out. It would be great to get out a few more times before we have to say farewell to all of this gorgeous autumn color. We will see....