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

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

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).

Monday, February 6, 2017

First of Three Commission Paintings... with process shots!

State on Congress, 34 x 44, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
First of three commissions for Dell Seton Medical Center
The new teaching hospital at University of Texas, Austin

I know I have been radio silent for a long time. Here is the deal... sometimes things happen in life that are just BIG. I have been completely distracted and painting non-stop on my largest commission project ever. It consists of three paintings for the Dell Seton Medical Center, our brand new teaching hospital at the University of Texas, which opens in May, 2017! Soon!

The commission is huge, both in honor (I am thrilled to be chosen) and in size... two are 34x44" and the third one is 5 feet by 6 feet (the largest painting I have ever made!) The "smaller" two are now on their way to the client for framing and installation, and I am hoping to wrap up the BIG one in the next week or so. 

Below are process shots of the first piece, "State on Congress". This one is based on a painting I did a few years ago that was much smaller and square (18x18). The submission process included reworking the scene into a horizontal landscape shape, which I presented as a pencil sketch and small color maquette. Once approved, I began the actual painting. I hope you enjoy seeing the progression of its development. 

Pencil Sketch for commission, 8x10

Color Maquette for commission, 12 x 15


Step 1 - Block-In - design and composition of scene.
I use a dark neutral paint tone, lightly applied to indicate shapes and values.

Step 2 - Mass-In large areas of color and value.
I mass in shadow areas of painting first, and work dark to light.

Step 3 - Mass-in large "lit" areas, keeping everything simple. 
Note that building in the dead center got moved. ;) Sorry for the bad photo but I wanted to show this stage and it's all I have. 

Step 4 - Break up masses and final marks.
I use subtle value shifts to indicate form and detail, adding final highlights and lowlights last. Note that the tall building on right got shortened. It's never too late to make changes!

Coming Up: Process Shots of the other two pieces, and some thoughts on how to approach a commission. I am making a list a "take-aways" to share with you, so please stay tuned! :)