Monday, May 22, 2017

Iron Gate

Iron Gate, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $120 + $16 s/h

This is another painting of the beautiful grounds at Laguna Gloria, where I teach painting in Austin. It's no surprise that this is a popular wedding venue, as well as an art school and sculpture garden. The main building is modeled after an Italian Villa. It is surrounded by gardens and just a few steps away from Lake Austin... one of my favorite places! 

This is my favorite sculpture on the grounds...
"Looking Up" by Tom Friedman, stainless steel

Me, standing at the foot of the giant!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Big Commission - In Situ!

A Capitol Evening (detail), 60 x 72, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Commissioned for the Dell Seton Medical Center, University of Texas

Those who followed my posts at the start of the year will remember that I painted my largest painting ever, for the new teaching hospital at the University of Texas. It was a terrifying, but wonderful challenge for me. Well, I have an update. This past weekend, the Medical Center threw a grand opening party for the public to view the new facility. Below are pictures of my painting "in situ". That grin on my face lasted all day! (Okay, I am still glowing a bit.) I am honored and grateful beyond words to have my work showcased in this great institution of healing. 

Click HERE for original post on this piece. (The other two paintings I did for them were not viewable at the reception as some areas were closed off... no pics of those.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Villa Cypress - Demo 3

Villa Cypress, 12 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $145 + $16 s/h

Choosing a subject... what to include, what to leave out? That is the question. This demo is about choosing between two interpretations of the same scene. The composition on the left is all about the statue as the main idea. The composition on the right is all about the tall cypress trees as the main idea. Both are valid, but I felt that they were two different paintings. 

To accentuate the cypress trees in today's post, I needed to focus on their height. Therefore, it was important to show that they were taller than the Villa (which has three stories). Using a tall, skinny format helped to further "push" the idea of height. I chose to leave out the sculpture completely, so that it would't distract from the main idea.

One scene, two ideas...


Monday, May 15, 2017

Garden Watch - Workshop Demo 2

Garden Watch, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

This is the second of the demo ideas I worked up for my recent workshop. (To see block-ins of all four ideas, click HERE.) I love this little angle on the garden and the sculpture adds an instant focal point! Below are several process shots so you can see how the painting developed. 

Blocking in with Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna.
 I tried not to worry about the details on the sculpture at this point... just the shape of a figure on a block. Keeping it simple at the start actually helps me avoid over painting it. 

Building the darks in the upright plane.
Depicting the statue was accomplished by painting both the shape itself AND its negative shape. In other words, I started with a general form and then carved into it with the surrounding background color. I go back and forth between the two (negative and positive) to help me hold the form.

Again, the finished piece. 
I wish I had taken more pictures showing how the sculpture element evolved. I just got going and forgot. :(

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Courtyard Entrance - Demo

Courtyard Entrance, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2016

A couple of weekends ago, I taught a plein air workshop at The Contemporary Austin Art School. The focus of the class was all about working smart in the field. It's easy to get outside and flail. What works best for me is to carefully invest in my initial block-in (see below). In this block-in stage, I focus on composition and the value placement. Getting a good foundation in the first sketch has a direct impact on my happiness with the final result. I try to resolve most issues in that sketch before moving on. 

This demo shows four different ways to interpret the same subject. It helps me to consider different angles before I begin. Selection of a subject can be hard when choosing from 360 degrees in every direction! I am often surprised and delighted, by a not so obvious second or third idea. 

Composition #1 - 6x8 Block-in
I chose this one for the finished demo because I wanted to include a few more details on the building. 

Composition #2 - 6x6 Block-in
I liked this one for its simplicity, and how it worked in the square format. 

Composition #3 - 8x6 Block-in
Another angle on the courtyard - same building, opposite side. 
Please stay tuned (next post) for the finished version of this angle! 

Composition #4 - 8x4 Block-in
Another format for second angle on the courtyard. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shrimper's Row - Georgia Coast

Shrimper's Row, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Available (arriving soon at Anderson Fine Art Gallery)

These shrimp boats are docked along the marina shore in Darien, Georgia (just up the road from St. Simons Island). Those tall, vertical arms on the boats are towing booms with nets attached. The booms and nets come down when the boats are out in the ocean trawling for shrimp. It is usually a nighttime or early morning gig, so catching the boats docked up during the day is not unusual. They make quite a fine sight, all lined up. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sailor's Delight - Georgia Coast

Sailor's Delight, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

The last few days I was in St. Simons Island, I found myself wanting to paint boats. This little sailboat was sitting on the causeway, ready to be taken out for a spin. I'm sure its owner was ready (or at least wanting) to go too... it was a perfect blue sky, sunny day!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cottage Balcony - Georgia Coast

Cottage Balcony, 12 x 9, Oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Available (arriving soon at Anderson Fine Art Gallery)

The morning light on this Jekyll Island cottage added an irresistible warmth to an already charming scene. I can't help but think of Romeo and Juliet when I see garden balconies. They add automatic romance, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Grazing - Wild horses on the Georgia Coast

Grazing, 6 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Click to purchase $120 + $16 s/h

My last post was all about Cumberland Island and the ruins of an old mansion there. (To see and read about that, click HERE.) What I didn't tell you is that the island has a band of wild horses that freely roams its forests, beaches, and dunes. It's always a treat to catch a glimpse of them during a visit there, and this time they sauntered in and posed! This horse must have found something pretty tasty in this grass because he stayed around long enough for me to finish this little sketch! 

Side note: The band of horses is probably left over from when the English started settling the island in the early 1800's; although some popular myths date them back to the Spanish Conquistadors and the 1600's. Though once domesticated, they are are now thoroughly wild and it's smart to keep a healthy distance. Seeing them is another great reminder of the island's colorful and romantic past. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dungeness Gate - Georgia Coast

Dungeness Gate, 12 x 9, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Available (coming soon to Anderson Fine Art Gallery)

This elegant gate was once the entrance to Dungeness, a 59-room Queen Anne style mansion on Cumberland Island, GA. It was built by the Carnegies in the 1880's, and quite a grand place. The Carnegies moved out in 1925 and estate burned down in 1959, leaving only ruins and the hint of stories from yesteryear. Oh, to know some of those secrets! ;) 

Nowadays, the island can only be visited by ferry, either on foot or by bike. That blue bike was mine for the day as I rode around the island (easel on my back) and painted. See why I love painting in the Golden Isles so much??? Always an adventure to be had!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Shifting Sands - Georgia Coast

Shifting Sands, 8 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Available (arriving soon at Anderson Fine Art Gallery)

The way beach sands shift and move always amazes me. Tides, winds, currents, and storms all have a hand in that process and it seems to change almost by the day.

These partially buried beach rocks tell a story of change on St. Simons Island. They were originally placed along this beach after Hurricane Dora in 1964, by President Lyndon Johnson (referred to as the "Johnson Rocks".) The storm had caused so much damage and flooding that the large granite rocks were placed strategically along the beach to prevent further loss and erosion. As nature would have it, the sands have continued to shift, and now, over 50 years later, they have completely returned (and then some). The beach is greatly expanded, and has filled in and covered many of the Johnson Rocks on this beach. 

It's always a treat to walk down there and see what's new! :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Local Color - Georgia Coast

Local Color, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

The Crab Trap, a restaurant on St. Simons Island, has been around for ever and ever it seems... through changing times and all the new trends. There is nothing quite like their fried shrimp and hush puppies. But besides all that, they have the best display of flowers! I love driving by and simply taking in all the colors!

Just as I was finishing up this painting, a sweet little girl and her dad came over to see it. She told me (quite confidently) that she will be an artist when she grows up. So, of course, she happily took me up on my offer to make a little painting right there on the spot. My apron was a bit long, but she had a ball! I believe she is ALREADY an artist!

Well done, my little artist buddy!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quiet Moment Under the Lych Gate - Georgia Coast

Quiet Moment Under The Lych Gate, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

Christ Church, Frederica is a beautiful, historic church on the north end of St. Simons Island, GA. It is surrounded by gardens, a cemetery (where some our family are buried), and huge live oak trees that were standing when it was first established by the English colonists in 1736. The term "Lych Gate" refers to a covered gateway to an English-style churchyard. This one does just that, and its path leads through a dappled yard to the gothic-style episcopal church. A few years ago I painted the church entrance and steeple - see below. Together, these two paintings may give you a bit of the very quiet and dappled feeling of this hallowed place.

Sunlit Steeple, 16 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2015
collection of the artist

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Crooked Creek - Georgia Coast

Crooked Creek, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

I have been enjoying some much needed painting time on St. Simons Island... my workshop is behind me and each day is free for me to explore and discover. Sooooo wonderful! This is a marsh view that I dearly love. In fact, it is literally across the way from where my husband's grandmother lived most of her life. The old family beach house was on the same property, and we all had many happy times there. That place is gone now, but the memories (and the creek) are strong as ever!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Morning Marsh - Georgia Coast

Morning Marsh, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

On the second day of my workshop, we painted the marsh. The tide was rising fast... it quickly covered the banks and almost got up to the top of the grasses. The scene changed dramatically and we had a spectacular view for the show!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tabby Cabin - with process shots

Tabby Cabin, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

This past weekend, I had the great privilege of teaching a workshop to some wonderful artists in St. Simons Island, Georgia. We started out on the first morning at this tabby cabin, which is a surviving out-building of the Hamilton Plantation. The word "tabby" refers to the material it is made of, which consists of water, lime and crushed oyster shells. It was built in the antebellum era, before 1833, so that mixture is pretty strong and resilient in the salty, ocean air. 

Below are a couple of shots as the painting developed... many thanks to my hard-working, talented students!


Beginning to add color

Finished piece

Painting with palette, and the subject is in the background. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stormy Fields and Upcoming Workshop

Stormy Fields, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017

On stormy, overcast days, I notice that color in the ground plane is much more intense. This piece is from late fall and I just kept forgetting to post it. Sometimes life gets busy! I loved the combination of colors this day... a muted, periwinkle sky with those rich, yellow grasses. 

UPCOMING WORKSHOP (still a couple of spots):
En Plein Air: Strong Starts

March 30 - April 1, 2017
Contact: Anderson Fine Art Gallery
Phone: 912-634-8414
More details, click HERE.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bright Spring Morning and Workshop Info

Bright Spring Morning, 8 x 16, oil, L. Daniel © 2017

When spring arrives I am always ready to get outside and paint again. This particular day was a little chilly and lots of trees were still bare, but I was able to find a well-lit green spot at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The leftover winter grasses were glowing red, and offering up a delightful pop of complimentary color. It was great to be out!


Painters - I still have a few openings in my workshop on St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast... If you can get away, come join me! Focus - Discover how a disciplined approach to your plein air work can lead to free and expressive painting sessions... 

En Plein Air: Strong Starts

March 30 - April 1, 2017
Contact: Anderson Fine Art Gallery
Phone: 912-634-8414
More details, click HERE.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cafe De Flore

Cafe De Flore, 16 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Auction Donation - Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

This cafe scene is all about the leisurely joy of lunching with friends. Do we EVER make enough time for that in our lives? I don't think so. Here's to slowing down more often. A cuppa al fresco does wonders for the soul!

Available at the Huntsville Museum of Art Gala and Art Auction - March 4, 2017.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Patio Welcome

Patio Welcome, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
Auction Donation - Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

This weekend, the Huntsville Museum of Art is holding its 26th Annual Gala and Art Auction. One of my dear patrons is one of the chairmen, and she invited me to join in. This little patio garden scene will be in the silent auction on Saturday night. Unfortunately, I will not be able to be there, but if YOU are, have fun and I hope you find some art that you can't live without! All proceeds benefit the museum. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The BIG ONE (60x72)... and Top 10 Tricks for a Successful Commission Project

A Capitol Evening, 60 x 72, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Third of three commissions for Dell Seton Medical Center
New teaching hospital at University of Texas, Austin

This is the big one, friends... and it will be placed in the entrance lobby of the new medical center!!! How cool is that?? I do wish you could see it in person to get the sense of the scale and brushwork, but here are some close ups...

A Capitol Evening (detail)

A Capitol Evening (detail)

The canvas is so big that I had to have it delivered to my house (it doesn't fit in my car!) Then, I had to move my studio into our living room to work on it. Thankfully, my easel moves up and down for painting the bottom half, but I could only do the sky by standing on my garden bench! Let's just say, there were definitely some gymnastics involved, and I learned A LOT from all of it! 

I'm still mentally digesting the lessons of scaling up my process to such a large format. Some days went smoothly, some were a bit challenging, and still others were downright frustrating. (My husband would insert here that he was compelled to stage an intervention about halfway through... some discussions on the "ledge" and a whisking away to the movies were greatly needed!) Painting this large required some serious adjusting on my part, and more importantly, keeping my eyes on the goal. Happily, it all came together in the end! 

A lot of you have asked about the ins and outs of commission work and I promised some "take aways" about that. For some reason, there is an awkwardness involved in doing creative work for other people. It is really important to treat a commission like a business deal, and that's where it gets hard. To that end, here are some of my tricks for managing the process:

Top 10 Tricks for a Successful Commission Project

1. Get a signed contract. (Include painting design, fees, and project timetable.) 

2. Build in an extra fee for the "hassle factor". (20% add-on is my standard.)
3. Allow extra time in schedule for completing the work. (Life happens.)
4. Get a non-refundable down payment. (50% to get started is reasonable.)
5. Agree ahead of time on approval process. (Communication is everything.)
6. Document each stage. (And secure approval at designated checkpoints.)
7. Rearrange life. (Cancel lunches and take over the living room if necessary!)
8. Do the work and do not procrastinate. (Last minute equals disaster.)
9. No surprises. (Mid-project is not the time to "try a new idea".)
10. Meet deadlines - all of them. (And finish on time.)

I could write an essay on each one of these points, including stories of when I did it right and when I did it WAY wrong. But it all boils down to this... if I follow these guidelines, the whole process is better for my client and it is definitely better for me! It helps ME stay on schedule, and it helps us all stay on the same page. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Second of Three Commission Paintings for New Medical Center

Capitol Profile, 34 x 44, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
Second of three commissions for Dell Seton Medical Center
New teaching hospital at University of Texas, Austin

As I shared in my last post, I kicked off 2017 with a 3-part commission for Austin's new medical center. See the first painting HERE. Each of the paintings commissioned is a cityscape, depicting a well-loved aspect of our very cool town (we love our home!) To say that I am excited to have been chosen for this project is a huge understatement. I am thrilled!

This piece features a profile view of the Capitol building, which is at the center of our downtown area. Of course, it is fenced in for safety purposes, but its "front yard" is a mass of sweeping lawns and paths, huge trees, and sculptures made to Texas history. And the inside of the building is stunningly grand. If you are ever in town, I highly recommend the tour. 

Some shots of the painting process... 

Blocking In

 Building up the painting with color

The Finished Piece - Capitol Profile, 34x44

An interesting story about shipping these commissions...
Since the art broker for this project is located out of town, I was asked to remove the paintings from their stretcher bars, roll them up, and ship them in a tube! It's a cheaper and safer way to transport them. The paintings will get re-stretched and framed at headquarters, and then come BACK to Austin to be installed at the new medical center! 

The painting, removed from the stretcher bars and rolled up between layers of glassine (an archival paper with a neutral ph protects the surface from rubbing and sticking).