Lakeside retreat

16×20 inches, Acrylic on Canvas

Around my house, I see a lot of live oak, pine and palm trees. This was not always the case. As a child, I remember collecting leaves from the various neighborhood trees for a class project. The specimens were very different: Maples, tulip, willow, ginkgo, ash, oak.

Home is equated with comfort, familiar, we know what to expect. We are curious about the new, the unknown. These past few years I’ve painted a number of trees. My confidence and skill in doing so have grown with time. Weeping willows are not something I see in my day to day life, they present a new challenge with their low drooping branches and yellow-green leaves.

If you see my work you know I love many different and vibrant colors. At times a scene might be beautiful but seem to monochromatic. Everything is green with a blue sky thrown in. I will bump up contrast and saturation at times, and as I continue to study the photo will see hints of other colors. The different hues can add interest to ordinary scenes. I am a painter because I like to amplify my scenes. My goal is to take familiar and new scenes and find a point of view that is interesting.


Willow on Rainbow Banks

Acrylic on canvas

I have a certain style when I paint. It wasn’t really super intentional, it’s just how I paint.¬† I fall somewhere between loose realism and impressionism. I like to amplify colors and try not to depend too heavily on black, preferring to use purple, blues and dark greens to darken. When I paint buildings the work is a bit more exacting, as I want to make sure to get the angles and perspective right. However, there are a number of artists that I am inspired by who have a looser style, with more of an emphasis on movement and brush strokes, more painterly than realistic. When I paint smaller canvas I am freer to focus on shape and color and don’t worry about capturing every detail. I’ve tried to incorporate that into some of my recent paintings. I enjoyed breaking away and being a bit more blocky with my colors. I think it contrasts and adds interest to areas that are more realistic.

This scene was inspired by visiting my parents in Michigan this summer. They live on a chain of lakes, and I was able to kayak around exploring at a slower pace. I enjoyed the shadows the trees casts, the colors of the lily pads and how reflections distort in the water. I decided to add some fall color to the weeping willow tree.

Roadside Display

Acrylic on canvas

Have you heard of the phrase; “The honeymoon is over?” It can be used to describe more than a marital relationship. The idea that enough time has passed and experiences had where you start to notice the flaws. The shine has worn off. Sometimes it becomes pronounced, and it seems all you see are things you don’t care for. There is something in our human nature that makes contentment elusive. We want what we don’t have.

I’ve lived in Florida for most of my adult life. But I grew up in Michigan. Years ago, I couldn’t believe I was moving to the sunshine state, the land of Disney, palm trees and the beach. I felt lucky. While I still enjoy eating outside in the Winter, and I don’t know how I’d handle months and months of cold weather, I do miss the seasons. Few trees shed their leaves here, fewer still change color. (And I’d be fine wearing pants and a sweater sitting around a fire now and again!)

So I’m enjoying other peoples photos of autumn while sitting in my shorts with the air on. I took a lot of photos this summer while up north and being a painter I might turn some into fall scenes. Now my guess is that by the time the trees are changing color the tiger lilies made an exit until spring. (But I’m a painter, so I’m taking liberties.)

So the honeymoon is over, no rose-colored glasses. But like a marriage that deepens and thrives you have to work at it. Find the things you love. Give grace. Forgive. And remind yourself of the benefits of being right where you are.

Blooming Shopfront

Acrylic on canvas

While on vacation I hoped to get photos for painting inspiration. A friend had shared a photo on Facebook of Slayton Arboretum, and realizing the place was a short drive from my parents, my husband and I took off one morning to see for ourselves. We enjoyed the Arboretum and explored the town. I love summer in Michigan, full of life, sleeping with the windows open, flowers blooming. We came across this shopfront which was so colorful, and I knew it would become one of my paintings.

Often when I visit near where I grew up I feel a bit melancholy. Older relatives have passed away, friends moved away, childhood home no longer occupied and in disarray. It’s too easy to feel the loss. I appreciated the reminder that summer comes yearly with new life, warmth and days at the lake. And I appreciated exploring a nearby place full of beauty that I wasn’t aware of.