I posted my small watercolor studies for these oils last week, and here are a few of the oils I’ve been working on from those studies and also from reference photos, which is a reasonably new thing for me. I spent years working almost purely outside, or working from studies done on site. I remember my painting prof saying that once you’ve put your time in, you learn how the light works (and how the camera changes it), and you can transition into working more from photos. It still feels a bit like cheating, but I do feel that coming to working from photos in my 40’s, with a couple of decades of on site work under my belt, made a big difference to how I would approach these pieces. I will say that the convenience is lovely, especially since I’m doing nocturnes. It can be fun to paint a bit in the dark and see what you get, but a whole show of inconvenient painting would be a lot. Now that the weather is beginning to get nice, though, I’m also itching to get back out with my watercolors when I have the time. A number of deadlines (seven commissions plus the show to hang in the next few weeks) are looming, but then I’ll get to go out west and paint a bit more whatever I feel like for a while. It’s nice to have that rhythm built into my life at the moment.
Here are a couple of the smallest oils for the show (about 10x13”). Now that I’ve got my “second tea” brewed, I’m going to get back upstairs to the easel and keep working on the new one I started this morning.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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