Since I am just about to depart on a painting retreat for a week in St. Kitts, organized by my dear friend and fellow artist, Beth Haizlip…I have been in a tropical island mood. The scene was entirely made up but have glints of other island paintings that I have done recently. It takes many paintings to work out an idea and then coming up with plans for execution of the idea. Painting is not just “willy nilly” dabbing paint on a canvas. Each layer must be strategized and analyzed. I am trying to have each stroke of the brush be deliberate. There are layers of glazes in various colors between the wet brush strokes.
“Perfect Evening” is 40x16x1.5″ gallery wrap
“Sunset Moonrise” is 40x30x1.5″ and expands on the idea of the previous work. I find the scene quite romantic as lovers stand on the porch of a little island cottage, watching the moon rise as the sun sets.
“Nearly Home” is a 24×48″ gallery wrap just completed. I was inspired by another painting I had completed recently. I cannot post the other one yet because it is a gift.
My goal was to use fluid and broad strokes and keep the landscape more impressionistic. Even though there are a lot of paint strokes, they are not entirely random. Making each stroke finite and not working into it and blending takes a lot of self control.
Details of some of the brush strokes.
Over the holidays, I painted this 30×48″ scene. I wanted to do an abstract painting originally but the more I worked on it, the more fantasy was added. After a few days, this emerged: a small landscape of the reflections on the water and the glow of the lights in the little house. It is called “Silent Night” and I hope the feeling it gives you is a positive one. The moon at the end of December was another inspiration that was incorporated.
detail of house
This commission took a lot more time in the studio because of the size and also the client’s directives. Originally, they wanted an “Abstract Expression” of their favorite place in the Abacos, Hopetown. They sent various photos of the famous lighthouse and their navy blue yacht and instructed me to use lots of texture and bright colors. Abstract is an odd term and I had to explain to them that if they wanted the lighthouse and boat and all the elements of a LANDSCAPE, it would be far less “abstract”. My brush strokes were quite loose and bold, mixing palette knife and large brushes, mixing custom colors to go with their rug in the room that they will hang this painting in, adding more texture and complimentary colors, enhancing the sunrise…etc. I finally went with my style of expressionistic painting to complete the landscape.
“Hopetown Paradise” is 48×36″
Photos sent by customer as reference: ( I also used some of my photography from several trips that I took a decade ago. I have actually been to Hopetown three times to shoot weddings. Such a cool island.)
While waiting for a collector’s final directives for a commission that they wanted to have me do, I started a landscape to work out some ideas and techniques. They said they wanted it abstract, palette knife, textural, yet still have a tropical landscape as the design. Now, what some people consider to be abstract doesn’t mean void of imagery but just looser brushstrokes and not realistic. More expressionistic? Impressionistic? Its hard to define since it has elements of all. This painting is 60″ wide and 48″ tall.
The couple really liked this but it ended up being larger than they needed. They have decided to have me paint a 48×36″ gallery wrap and instead of a random island, they specifically wanted a landscape of the Hopetown lighthouse (in the Abacos) with their sailboat docked by the shore. I will post when completed the final painting. I have been working on it for a week and really like how it is progressing.
This larger tropical painting is available so if you have a large wall, it would be perfect…and an island life image will spark memories of past island vacations.
Here are some details showing the impressionistic brush strokes. Deliberate strokes giving the hint of the flower shapes or palm fronds…but not detailed or realistic.
Working on a painting this large is very physical. My arms and back get very sore after several hours but I love working large. Its rather bold and fun.
“Morning at Turtle Bay” 40×30′ was painted in a larger size from a similar painting that I did after visiting St. Kitts earlier in the year. (“Nevis in the Distance” See below). I had taken photos while painting on this idyllic beach. It was a windy day so the sailboats that would have been sailing that day came around the tip of the island to anchor and wait for the wind to die down. The first sailboat still had one sail up still while getting in position. There was a little dock and we swam in the shallow water. Paradise.
Of course on this second painting from my photograph, I changes a few things and tried to make the water reflect less wind in the cove. This painting will go on my wall at home.
Then, after completing the larger 40×30″ scene, I wanted to explore the idea again to learn and be bolder with my new ideas. My husband remarked that he didn’t understand why I painted two of the same painting. I wanted to change the time of day like it was a summer evening with the moon lighting up the sky. I also wanted to try making the colors more brilliant and colorful. These two new paintings really made me happy while painting it and I am assuming that the happy feeling transcends to whomever purchases the painting.
“Twilight Sail” 40×30″
Nevis in the Distance is 24×30 was done earlier in the year and was my inspiration for the two new larger paintings.
“All You Need” is a smaller landscape 24×20″ and done from the same photos I shot while on that beautiful beach.
“Sand Bank Bay” 24×24 is from a Str Kitts trip two years ago. Sand Bank Bay is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island and near the most southernly points. Available for purchase.
“A Splendid Day” is 24×40″ and was started a year ago. I finally finished the scene which was painted from various sketches and memories. I like bringing the islands into a home because it emotes vacation!
“Having Lunch in the Cabana” is 30×15″ and a nice size for many areas of a home. This original acrylic painting on canvas was made up form memories of my trips to the West Indies. There is something challenging and yet freeing to work form memories alone.
“Party Til Dawn” was made up form several trips I went on this year. Camping with friends and having a giant bonfire, visiting family in San Diego and Santa Cruz (hence the pier and distant coastline), Palms and Sailboat from St. Kitts. The people are out partying still as the sun comes up and people are walking their dogs. Sometimes just drawing from your memories is fun and offers many opportunities to add and change things up. This painting is 48×24″.
Details and painting progression
While in St. Kitts, I sat on the beach in Turtle Bay watching the paradise all around me. The island of Nevis is in the distance, a sailboat coming into the bay, cocoanuts on a palm, a surfboard on the beach with a fishing dock….What more could you need in life?
I call this “All You Need”. 24×20″