Window Tree — and more….

Nov 8, ‘14

As we act in the direction of our dreams, we are given strength and courage.  Julia Cameron


Window Tree 8:30 a.m

Nov 8, ‘14

What a beautiful November morning we’re having today in SE NW CT!    It’s sunny, not windy and definitely chilly.  The predicted high for today is 43.  Right now, it’s 36 degrees.  There was a light frost in the morning hours but it wasn’t a killing frost, at least not where I am.  The Japanese Maple in front of my house still has more than half its leaves.  The leaves that have fallen surround the perimeter of the tree and look like a red scarf that has been casually draped for full effect.    Walking through the strewn red leaves on the walkway to my house is akin to walking through rose petals, as if the tree is shedding its leaves to honor and entice whoever walks through them.


I was up and at work on the Watercolors-that-need- work quite early this morning – to take full advantage of the sun and warmth streaming through the big windows.


Tree beginning to turn, Oct ’10, Culvert St BEFORE



This is a painting done looking out the window from my studio room from when I lived on Culvert St.    It was done in early Oct. ’10.  That apartment was on the 2nd floor and I enjoyed the perspective, as if I were in a tree house.  I had plenty of interesting views from my windows on 4 sides of the house.  What struck me that morning – besides the brilliant orange of the leaves and blue of the sky– were the upright shadows and the brightness of the areas receiving sun.

I cleaned up this painting a bit by washing out and lifting off with a tissue areas I thought had too much paint, most notably, the sky area.  Then I heightened lights and darkened darks.  To me, it now has a little more balance and color harmony.


Peaches and van Gogh (Iris), ’09 BEFORE

This is a painting from my Peaches and Postcards series.    The postcard in this painting is a reproduction of Vincent van Gogh’s Iris, which I’ve always loved.  This painting was at a point of being finished but didn’t make the show because I wasn’t at all happy with the area around the white Dala horse or with my depiction of the horse.

For drapery I used my 50’s table cloth with the grapes and apples.  The cloth under the peach is a favorite and shows up a lot in other paintings.  A good friend gave me that cloth; she said she thought I’d love it and she was right.  It’s a bit larger than a table napkin and has pink flowers embroidered on it by some long ago and unknown woman in my friend’s family, generations removed.  The bowl containing peaches and grapes is the top of the jar I bought to replace my Chinese Bowl.  The peaches and grapes are all replicas aka ‘fakes’.  The small and white Dala horse is one that I carved from a kit I bought on Ebay from Dala horse carvers in Sweden.  I have a love for and fascination with Dala horses and thought it would be fun to carve my own.  There were 3 of various sizes in the kit and the white one was the largest.  I thought to paint and decorate them after they were carved but so far, they’re all primed and the middle size horse painted blue and none decorated.  I had a good time carving them, which also helped me learn how they’re made by Dala Horse carvers.

I’m somewhat happier with the horse after making a few repairs, but not completely, so the painting remains unfinished until I come up with a fix.  I deepened some of the darks and gave the light areas of the peaches a bit more color.  One of the problems I’m facing with the horse and the area around it is that in order to begin to make repairs back in ’09, I used acrylic white ceiling paint to cover some of my original mistake, which is difficult to go over using watercolor.


Bill R’s House, ’02 BEFORE



This is a corner of an ell that was built onto a very large house that was built in the early 1800’s by a wealthy New Englander.   The person who owned it back in ’02 asked me to do a house portrait of this house; I started making somewhat finished sketches by starting with this ell because it was the most familiar to me.   This painting was one of several where I made an attempt to capture the essence of the formality of the house and fence to the informality and wildness of the Nature that surrounded it.  I never actually completed a portrait of this house because the owner moved to another house the next year.  I never could actually find a ‘face’ to this house other than this view.  I decided to work on this painting this morning to push back the middle and background and bring more light to things that were catching sun.

I did other house portraits for this person; of a cottage where he’d lived and been very happy.  He was so happy with the first portrait that he commissioned me to do 3 more — for his mother and his 2 daughters.  He was a great client!  Alas, he died in ’08, after ‘routine’ surgery went bad.  He was a gentleman, a really nice guy and fun to work with and for.  I think I may work more on this painting, but not today.

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3 Responses to Window Tree — and more….

  1. beetleypete says:

    The before and after paintings are very interesting Gretchen, and I enjoy looking at them, and reading about the work on them. The ‘repair’ to the first one was especially good, and the sky really does benefit from a few light touches.
    And the blues of course…Always enchanting, those unusual blues.
    Best wishes as always from England. Pete.

  2. I love seeing these works in progress, and hearing your problems with the “before” images – which may not have been evident to me, but reflects your artist’s eye and your intent. Thanks for sharing!

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