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
Subscribers will have already read that I am running some online auctions as part of a fall sale. What's new in this post is that I have created a page on my permanent website dedicated to my auctions and special offers, which will provide a quick and easy way to view both my auctions and any other promotional sales I might be offering at a given time. I've just listed two new auctions this week and will be adding more in the weeks ahead, so be sure to bookmark the page and check back often!
Last spring I had the good fortune to take a day tour with friends along Virginia's Monticello Wine trail. There are so many pretty vineyards tucked into the valleys of this part of the Blue Ridge, that it's really difficult to pick a favorite. But Pippin Hill Farm definitely hovers around the top of my list. The winery is located in Albemarle County, about an hour and a half from where I live.
The winery itself is dreamy, with landscaped walkways leading to a beautiful tasting room and restaurant. But the real kicker is the landscaped terrace and the surrounding 360 degree breathtaking views of the countryside. While the surrounding gardens were quite lovely, I'm always a sucker for fields of wildflowers. Throw in some vineyards, mountains and good wine and I'm in heaven!
The winery is just far enough away from me that a spur of the moment painting excursion (ideally followed by a sip and a snack ;-) ) is out for me. On the weekdays I generally paint at or relatively near home to be here for the kiddo when she gets out of school. But I really need to plan a visit again soon as it is definitely worth the effort. Given how pretty it was in the warmer months, I 'm curious to know what it's like in the fall.
There have been a number of occasions where my plein air paintings get stashed away for a while, only to be discovered when I can't stand the mess of my studio space any longer and (finally!) decide to instill some order. Such was the case with this little plein air study I did this past May at Rassawek Vineyard during its annual Spring Jubilee:
It was a challenging session, as I recall, because those clouds kept morphing and changing the light and becoming more ominous as time advanced. In fact, I had to close up before I intended, in order to make a dash for my car before the sky opened up (and indeed, it WAS just in time.)
Nevertheless, there was something nice about this that I wanted to explore further, as it was such a lovely setting. For the larger painting I was planning however, I wanted to zoom out a bit to show the expansiveness of the landscape. So I searched my photo archives to see if I could find the view I had in mind. Voila! I found what I was looking for, which also included the roses marking the end of each row on the vineyard, (something I failed to note in the study.) I didn't get any progress shots of this painting because it has (ironically) been raining non-stop here for over a week, making the lighting insufficient for photography. In any event, I took a shot of the final studio piece outside during an all-too-brief pause in the rainfall.
I completed this painting (or so I thought) a short time before we left for our annual summer trek to the beach. I really liked it, for the most part. And having considered it finished, I stuck it up on my studio wall before our trip. After our return though, I started looking at it with fresh eyes. Some things that tugged on me before were now really starting to become more bothersome. But I decided to let it marinate a while longer as I was distracted with other projects.
Finally, I decided that while I liked the overall mood in this piece, I did not like the little closed umbrella to the left of my grouping of sunbathers. It kept pulling my eye away from where I wanted to go, and it was sort of an ambiguous object sitting there. Still I wanted something near that spot that would perhaps pull the painting together a little better. So I began flipping through my trip photos for some ideas and inspiration, and came across a snap of a little boy digging intently in the sand. I sketched it out quickly in a nearby notebook and set to work.
There wasn't a lot of built up texture where the umbrella was, so I only had to scrape it down just a little bit with a razor. Then I proceeded with a little "oiling out" (in this case with just a little gambol and solvent free fluid) to help the new paint layer adhere to the older but still very fresh under layer. Here is the revised painting with the little boy. I also brightened the sky a bit more as it was feeling a bit intense and heavy.
Here's a detail of the figures:
I don't know about you, but I like this much better, and I find it finally worthy of celebrating with a frame and a signature. :)