Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Special: An Image of Peace and Quiet

“The Getaway”   5” x 7”    Pastel    $50   © Sharon Lewis
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             All the work is done. The feast was prepared and enjoyed by all. I know some of my friends and family are out hunting bargains in the shopping chaos of Black Friday. I’m not that fond of shopping even under the best of circumstances and just the thought of this sends chills down my spine.
            Today’s painting is for all of you who could use a vision of peace and quiet relaxation. Hope you enjoy a happy, restful holiday weekend.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Who Knew Turkeys Posed for the Paparazzi?

“Family Gathering”    6” x 6”   Pastel   $40   © Sharon Lewis
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            Recently, while on Bailey Island in Maine, wild turkeys would periodically strut out of the woods and parade back and forth through the backyard of the house we were renting. One morning, these turkeys actually posed exactly like this long enough for me to get photos.          
            Our turkey (not either of the ones in the painting) is finally in the oven stuffed with dressing. The gravy is simmering on the stove and most of the food is prepared or on the way. Soon family and friends will sit together to share a feast. I hope wherever you are, you enjoy a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Harvest

“Thanksgiving Harvest”    6” x 6”   Pastel    $40    © Sharon Lewis 
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           My kids are home, my refrigerator is bursting with food, with more on the way, and the sun is out. Although I’m not looking forward to all of the food prep ahead of me (since I’m not at all domestic), I know it will be fun since I will have plenty of helpers. There’s something wonderful about a meal prepared with the people you love. There will be lots of opinions about the best way to cook something, just as many compromises, lots of laughter and lots of love…a true Thanksgiving harvest.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Looking For Some Sun and Warmth

“Sun on the Marsh”    2.5” x 3.5”   Pastel   $20   © Sharon Lewis
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              It’s another gray day with the added attractive feature of almost incessant rain.  I decided I could really use a little sunshine and warmth. Since the weather gods seem to be ignoring my wishes, I created my version of a much nicer day in today’s petite painting. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Cloudy Day on the Isle of Skye

“Cloudy Day on the Isle of Skye”   5” x 7 “   Pastel     $50    © Sharon Lewis
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             It’s been a grey, cloudy, cold day here much like it was this past August when I was on the Isle of Skye. They told us they were getting weather in August that they normally didn’t get until late fall. I didn’t mind because ever since I heard the name “Isle of Skye”, I knew I had to visit here. And I wasn’t disappointed. The island is gorgeous and the people couldn’t have been friendlier.
            Today’s painting is based on photos I was able to take in between rain showers. We were fortunate in that the sun eventually came out on this beautiful island off the coast of Scotland.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Against the Dying of the Light

“Against the Dying of the Light”   9” x 12”   Pastel    $100    © Sharon Lewis
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           On this, the fiftieth anniversary of President John Kennedy’s death, I thought of Dylan Thomas’ famous poem, “Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night”.  I’ve always loved that poem and it seems to fit the day’s memorializing of JFK as well as providing me with a title for today’s painting.
            I was a child when JFK died and I remember that the only thing that really registered in my consciousness was that my birthday party, which I had so looked forward to, was canceled. I was so unaware of the significance of JFK’s assassination that I thought it had nothing to do with me. My lack of political awareness, even at this young age, seems incredible to me now since my Dad had worked on Kennedy’s campaign and we had a signed and framed photo of my Dad and JFK shaking hands.  Thanks to my Dad’s very patient schooling of me I gradually became more savvy when it came to both local and national politics. Sadly, I also grew to realize that on this day, fifty years ago, there was a dying of a light.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Artistic License

“Turquoise Ribbon”     8” x 10”   Pastel    $75.00  © Sharon Lewis
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             I love the whole idea of “artistic license”! It sounds like we artists have permission to do almost anything. It sounds so tremendously freeing… and in a way it is. In a sense, it’s also where the real work of creativity comes in. My goal as a landscape artist is not to copy exactly from any photos I might have  (if that’s what I’m working from). Instead I want to communicate to the viewer something of what I might have felt from being in that environment. Or I might want to make a landscape more interesting than what is conveyed in the photo.
            Today’s painting is an example of this. This painting is based on some photos I took on a trip from Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada to Prince Edward Island. We passed near some interesting marshes but the photos really didn’t convey this at all.  So, I changed the course of the water to make it look more like the beautiful turquoise ribbon of water I remember. I hope you can feel the warmth of that sunny day and see the beautiful blue sky, neither of which we had here today. Ahhh, I love artistic license!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Light Show!

“Fleeting Light”    2.5” x 3.5”   Pastel     $20      © Sharon Lewis

            Every once and a while you get lucky and have a camera or paints available to capture that very brief, fleeting instance when the sun catches the edges of clouds and you’re treated to a beautiful light show.
            Today’s painting is based on just such a moment. It was a cool summer night near Bailey Island, Maine, one of my favorite places to visit. We had just finished a delicious dinner of lobster and blueberry pie near a marina, when I stepped outside hoping to get some good photos of sailboats coming in for the evening. Instead I found that I had walked out just in time to capture that perfect moment when the setting sun sets the clouds all aglow.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Seduction of the Open Road

“The Curiosity Drive”    2.5” x 3.5”     Pastel    $20       © Sharon Lewis
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             What is it about the path, the curve in the road, or just the idea of the open road, that is so enticing to some of us? I suspect that some of us are simply more curious than others.  For some people, a road is just a means to get to the grocery store or get to work. For others it represents adventure and wonder and maybe just the fun of discovering something new and different. I sometimes imagine that back when humans were hunter-gatherers that there were probably always some people who loved moving to new places and also probably drove the people who hated all the migrating from one place to the other, just crazy! I would have been one of those people who looked forward to migrating with the herds to some different place with different views and colors and who knows what else.
            Because I’m one of the people who is really curious about a lot of things, I find paths, or roads really interesting to paint. Like today’s painting, they represent the next adventure to me. Which one are you? Are you the type of person that will keep the home fires burning or are you one of us who are always wandering down a path wondering what’s just past that curve?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why I Love Birthdays!

“It’s a Beautiful Day”    9” x 12”    Pastel    $100    © Sharon Lewis
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           Today is my birthday and therefore I’m in a pretty good mood. I’m looking forward to a special dinner tonight, talking to my kids and other family, and CAKE!!!! I’m crazy about cake!

            I also have to explain that I don’t just love my birthday; I also like my kids’ birthdays, my brothers’ and sisters’, and my friends’ birthdays. I enjoy any change from the mundane and the ordinary. I enjoy being able to celebrate others and make them feel special and loved. Of course, if we were all perfect or at least better versions of ourselves, we wouldn’t do this only on special occasions. However the reality is that it’s so easy to get distracted by the routine stressors and demands in our life.

            Birthdays for me are also a time to remember what challenges I’ve met and what I’ve accomplished during the year. Even more important to me is to reflect on what I’m grateful for. I know I should be saving this for Thanksgiving but I’ve never known anyone to suffer from feeling too much gratitude.

            And so, on this day, I feel very, very lucky for all of my friends and family…. and because it just so happens to be a gorgeous sunny, fall day. I couldn’t ask for anything more! Except for maybe cake!

            Today’s painting is based on a photo by Stan Sperlak, gifted painter and photographer (used with permission). It’s another view of his Crow Creek Farm near Cape May, New Jersey. You can tell it’s going to be a beautiful day.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Appeal of Sailboats

“Sailing at Sunset”   4” x 6”    Pastel    $35    © Sharon Lewis
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            What is it about sailboats that make them so appealing to people? Maybe it’s because you can travel on the water without the loud sound of an engine or the smell of diesel fuel?  Maybe also since many of us live and work in or near cities, our lives are full of engines and smog and pollution and you can operate a sailboat without any of these.
            Does sailing take us back to a simpler time? Maybe, though it’s not easy to sail well and I am a great example of that.  I’m so often entranced by the views that I forget to pay attention to the direction of the wind. Maybe it’s a type of boating that really tests your skills because really, even a middle school kid can operate a motorboat (not saying they should), right?
            However, even to people that don’t sail, I think sailboats and paintings of them are symbolic…perhaps of escape? Of romanticized adventures on the high seas? What do you think?
            Whatever your opinion on this, although I grew up with mostly motorized fishing boats, I love seeing and painting sailboats. I love the colors and shapes of them as they glide across the water.
            I picked this painting to post today because in spite of the cool looking water, the sky is sunny, warm, and cheerful… a welcome sight on this misty, cold, and dreary day in Georgia. Today’s painting is based on photographs I took of sailboats off the west coast of Washington. After all of the rest of the sailboats were gone there was one sailor out on the water enjoying the last rays of the setting sun. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happy Color and the Value of Small

“Happy Color”    2.5” x 3.5”   Pastel  $20    © Sharon Lewis
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             I’ve spent the day dealing with administrative duties so it’s a great relief to turn back to art and color. Today’s painting is in some ways connected to last night’s art class with Karen Margulis which was so much fun!
            We did minis or as she has named them, “petite pastels”, which I think is a great name for these small paintings. She had us all bring 10 small (2.5 x 3.5) assorted pieces of paper. After her quick demo, we all put our paper in one pile, mixed them up, and then took 10 out of the collection. Ideally, you got paper that you might not be familiar with so that you could try it out. Then we all got to work and had a lot of fun.
            Karen had discussed that one of the advantages of these petite pastels is the opportunity to experiment with different subject matter or use them as small studies for a larger painting. After a little initial trepidation, we got to work. When I looked at everyone’s paintings, they were stunning! I saw small masterpieces painted last night! We all agreed that when you reduced the pressure to produce a masterpiece, and told yourself that you were just experimenting, we all felt more comfortable painting. The end result I think was an increase in our creativity.
            This is one of the many things that amazes me about creativity, and that is, the tremendous sensitivity to emotional state or mind set. It’s also one of the reasons that sometimes we artists can be our own worst enemy. But last night was also testament to what tremendous potential we all have when someone frees us from pressure and self doubt.
            I will post some of these petite pastels in future as I still have to set them up to be photographed. In the meantime, I share with you a petite version of fall in a Georgia state park.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fresh off the Easel….

“Sunset on the Coast”  9” x 12”   Pastel  $100    © Sharon Lewis
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            Sometimes it’s fun to just paint and share what you love. Although I think that most times my paintings benefit from a little aging or at least some time for me to decide what they need, today’s painting comes fresh off the easel. For some reason, I had a desire to paint and post a scene with dramatic contrasts and color. Maybe it’s because I’m noticing my favorite colors are disappearing all around me as my trees lose their leaves or because I just like bold color and strong contrast anyway.
            Today’s painting is based on some photos of mine of Trinidad Beach State Park on the California coast. This is a beautiful area and one I hope to visit again sometime soon. We were having dinner at a restaurant on the beach and were lucky enough to get a table by the window. I don’t remember anything at all about the food but I do remember the gorgeous sunset over the water and how the light made the small puddles in the sand shine. Although I was disappointed to find that I’d forgotten my good camera, I was lucky enough to get a few shots with my iPhone to remind me of that evening.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What’s the Value of Art? Transformation!

“Quiet Contemplation”   9” x 12”   Pastel   $100   © Sharon Lewis
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            Art is transformative in so many ways. It’s transformative for both the artist as well as the viewer. It can bring something out of you that you never believed was possible. It can open your eyes to hidden beauty or truth. It can make you view something ordinary as something extraordinary.
            Art can also transform your reality. My reality today was that I was going to work all day and then go for my usual long run. I was kind of dreading the run today. I kept hearing weather reports on how the temperature was going to drop 20 degrees during the time of my run with 40 mile per hour wind gusts…. not exactly something to look forward to. In fact, I was getting cold just thinking about this. So, I chose to focus on the painting I have posted today and felt warmer every time I looked at it.
            It is based on one of my photos of a sunny, much warmer day. We were near an interesting place called Cape Enrage (Isn’t that a great name for a place?), in New Brunswick, Canada.  At first it looked like the marsh here was totally deserted but as we stood there, I noticed a little movement out of the corner of my eye and suddenly there was a large heron standing there. He or she seemed to be poised like we were…in quiet contemplation of a beautiful view.
          So this is where I have been today…in a manner of speaking. I hope this work of art transforms your reality just a bit, as it did mine and that maybe, you stay just a little warmer.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday’s Harvest

“Harvest Time”   8” x 10”   Pastel   $75    ©Sharon Lewis
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           Today, after managing to work on multiple paintings I fortunately was able to “harvest” one. I know harvest typically refers to the gathering of ripe or mature grain, but sometimes it seems to apply equally to my paintings. Some definitely benefit from aging…or maybe it’s me that ‘s aging? I find that sometimes I need to give myself time away from a painting so that when I come back I can see what it most needs in order to be finished.
            Given this past weekend of glorious color, this one seemed perfect for today. It won’t be long until the gorgeous trees in my neighborhood as well as in the countryside completely lose their leaves; some have done so already. Every fall I hope for the impossible…that the colors will stay vivid for months.  But they don’t and so every time I see colors like the ones that inspired this painting, I feel so lucky.