July 01, 2012

Chillin in the Summer

Frosted Woolley Fields (pastel 16 x 20)

Because it's so hot out for a lot of folks around the country, I thought it might be fun to post a winter painting. Before I get started yapping about it though, I want to say THANKS to those who have sent their well wishes either in mail or thoughts for my recovery. I am now back at the easel and loving it!

I am honored to annouce that I have been selected as Artist of the Month by artistsnetwork for July and in the online article I spend quite a bit of time talking about reference photos and how I use a variety of them to compose an image.

Defining objective: In any painting, I first want to define my objective - my personal investment in a piece. It doesn't have to be some huge statement but it does have to mean something to me on a personal level if I am going to invest my heart and time in a piece.

For this piece I really wanted to recreate a scene I see and enjoy often on my way to town. When I drive past the field in the photo below, there are usally sheep hovering around the clump of trees. During the winter, when the sun hits the trees, it seems like they light up and the fields have a beautiful winter frost on them. This field, when the sheep are grazing, exudes a sense of calmness to me. This is the "thing" I want to capture and share with others in my painting. So, I have defined my objective.

I have chosen the photo below for a color reference and also for noting the frost on the fields.

Now....where WILL I find those sheep.....

As I mentioned, the sheep are usually hovering around that clump of trees or out in the field just in front of the trees but that doesn't seem to be the case if I have my camera in the car. Do you suppose they are camera-shy?

No problem, I have other sheep photos I can use. The sheep who live across the street don't seem to mind the camera.

I don't need a lot of detail for the sheep so this image will work well for the pair I want in the back. Now, for the guy in the front...

Okay. That will do. So, now I have all my reference photos. It is a matter of working out a composition that will be inviting and interesting. I work through several thumbnail sketches and work through some ideas in photoshop until I come up with something I like but I am careful not to "overwork" my idea. All I want is a good roadmap. I want to leave the creative process for the easel!

Thanks for visiting!

the end


  1. I'm sorry you have been poorly and so glad that you are back again! Clearly the weather there is entirely different to here! We live on the South Coast of England, but the weather this entire year has been awful! It's like autumn constantly! So, please could you send a little of your sunshine to us? Anyway, aside from that, do I even need to say how wonderful your painting is? It really is amazing :0)

  2. I am so glad you are better Sandy! I have missed your postings. In your absence I went to your website and purchased your book on paintings and poems. Loved it. I had no idea Miss Biscuit and Gravy had passed. I am so sorry.

    I think my favorite piece of Biscuit is PrincessBiscuitofthefauxfeathertribe :)

    Again, glad you are mending well!

  3. Congratulations on being artist of the month by Artist Network! Very nice! Glad you are feeling better.

  4. I'm so glad you're feeling better, Sandy!! and this winter scene is what we all needed right now!! Just got back from Tucson and 111 degrees weather! of course, returning back to New York was just as bad ..with added humidity. Again, LOVE this painting!!!