Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring in my backyard

Georgia Sweet Peas, 12 x 16

This Sweet Pea vine comes from some pea pods I brought back from a visit with my daughter in Atlanta (it's like having a little piece of her here with me!) They bloomed all last summer and now they have come back to life in their sunny protected spot. Unlike the bare trees of yesterday, they are lush with green and even have some tiny purple flowers coming out. Maybe it's because it's so warm here... I got hot standing in the shade today!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Warm Winter Day

Bare Trees, 12 x 12

I am not going to lie, bare trees completely intimidate me. I love seeing the "bones" of the landscape sticking out with all its soft purples and greys, but I can not figure out how to represent them with paint. Today, I couldn't avoid them... a leafed out tree was not to be found at our paintout location. I think I need to keep practicing... it makes me really appreciate those snow country painters!

Tree Sketch, 6 x 8
I thought a warm-up might help before starting. Did I mention there were no leaves, anywhere?

Monday, February 23, 2009

I do love trees...

Leaning Pine, 6 x 6, SOLD

I love trees of all sizes and varieties - I always want to paint them; I always find them compelling. I did this small study with an eye for editing down the form to simple, expressive shapes. This is always the goal for me whether working large or small.

See more Small Works

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Overcast and raining, but still painting...

Zilker Field, 6 x 8

This morning our Plein Air group met in spite of the forecast for showers (we are a committed bunch.) Sure enough, after setting up and getting started it began to rain, the wind kicked up and "that cold front" came on in. So here is a glimpse of our dark, cold morning. (And don't you know that the last two days were clear and sunny?)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Afternoon Shadows

Long Shadows, 30 x 30

You know this time of day - when the sun drops on the horizon, colors deepen and shadows stretch out forever. There is nothing quite like that afternoon glow to take your breath away.

Monday, February 16, 2009

For Lady Bird

Field of Maize, 20 x 20
I posted a small study of this image last week. Several of you encourgaged me to stick with the centered composition, so I took your advice for the resulting larger one (although I did move the horizon line up a little). I guess it doesn't hurt to break the rules occasionally! This painting is headed to an annual Art Auction here in Austin which benefits the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Lady Bird created such beauty while she was here, it's a joy to contribute in a small way to her ongoing legacy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Brass Heart, 6 x 6
"May your heart always be joyful,
may your song always be sung,
and may you stay forever young."

See more Small Works.

Friday, February 13, 2009

At the end of Congress Avenue

Sunlit Granite, 12 x 12

When I first moved to Austin, my kids and I took the tour of this towering landmark. The tour guide made a point of telling us all that it's taller than our U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. AND that it was built completely by Texans. He was very proud of that! Who knew there was a competition on this? But you know what they say, "everything is bigger in Texas." I painted this yesterday with my plein air group... we all met downtown to do cityscapes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Unearthed Beauty

Uprooted Bulb, 6 x 6

The odd-shaped bulb and it's shadow - simply irresistible! I am going to save these guys and try planting them outside in the fall. Then I will watch my garden for signs of life...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The gift that keeps on giving!

Spent Bulbs, 6 x 6

A bowl of Paperwhite Narcissus arrived on my doorstep at Christmastime from my dear friend Jennifer. They bloomed and filled the room with gorgeous flowers... and then died back. When I pulled them up, I was thrilled anew. I think I love the bulbs themselves just as much as the flowers! They have such great shapes and hold a sweet promise of blooms to come! I used them in my still life class today and had to come home and paint them myself.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breaking the rules...

Field of Maize Study, 6 x 6

I am always, always drawn to bits of light that peek through large tree forms. I love the shapes and mystery. Here I also experimented with placing the tree grouping and horizon line right in the middle of the canvas (which is generally not advised.) Sometimes it's fun to go ahead and break the rules intentionally. Just to see... :)

Click here to purchase at Small Works site ($100 + $12 s/h)

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Online Gallery and Store

Long Shadows, 6 x 6, SOLD

Many of you have inquired about purchasing my work online, especially these smaller pieces. So... today I am launching my new online gallery and store called "Laurel Daniel Small Works" where I am selling small original oil paintings at affordable (even gift-giving) prices. How will it work? Whenever I post a small piece on this blog, it will have a link to the gallery site where you can view that piece (and others) and make a purchase. You can also go straight to the site at

Thank you for your continued encouragement and support!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Still Life Treasures

Threads of Prayer, 10 x 10

My friend, Becky, is a knitter and has a huge yarn collection. In her many bins, she has special yarns that she uses for "prayer shawls". These are given (with many prayers knitted in) to people in nursing homes and hospice. Families report back about the many comforts these shawls provide... for the recipients themselves and for faithful caretakers who stay by their sides. Becky let me raid her bins and special threads for some still life objects this week - that's just the kind of girl she is. And this one is for her (with prayers painted in).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cool Air, Crisp Light

Winter Light at the Creek, 12 x 16

On Thursday, I painted outside with a new painting friend from Idaho, Bob Bissett. Since Austin was in one of its every-other-day temperature swings, I had on my fingerless gloves and was all bundled up. He thought it was comfortable... hot even. But that cold air seems to clarify the light somehow - it was glorious to be out.