Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Painting Leaves--Again

"September", watercolor

 Time to Paint the Leaves--Again

Each year at this time I find myself painting leaves and wondering why I am so drawn to this subject. What is it that compels me to capture them on canvas or on paper. Even as I look around my house and notice that leaves seem to be integrated into my decor, I still question why I want to paint them every year. Well obviously I really like leaves. 

But is there another reason why I year after year I paint the leaves? Aside from their interesting shapes and glorious fall colors is there another reason why?

"Falling Leaves" watercolor

"Fall Fantasy" hand-painted silk

In much of my artwork, landscape paintings in particular,  I am intrigued by transitions. Night to dawn, daylight to twilight and eventually sunset. The lighting and atmospheric changes at these transition times have been dominating themes in my recent work.

"Up with the Birds" watercolor

Seasonal transitions, especially the transition from fall to winter have also been themes in my paintings. I love those last colorful gasps of fall before the quiet solemnity of winter. And I remember how just a few months ago those leaves were young and green. Now they are ready to fall to the ground and become part of the earth.

"Falling" watercolor 

The Last Transition

And then there is always the last transition--from life to death. For me leaves represent that transition   as they turn colors, then fall to the ground and slowly decay leaving a delicate network of lines to hold together the last little bits of leaf. 

Painting the leaves is just another way to remind myself of how fragile this life is, and sometimes how short it can be. Painting the leaves is a reminder that nothing lasts forever. We are here for a while and then fade away and become part of the earth. 

But even in that transition there is a beauty. Just like the leaves, a delicate network of lines holds us together until the final release.

"Leaving" pencil

But until that time I'll just keep painting the leaves! 

"Fall Leaves" food coloring (yup!) and metallic paint

Monday, September 10, 2018

From Windy Hill Studio North!


One month from now I'll be back in Lewes, Delaware till next summer. It's been great spending the summer at camp here in the North Country. 
In preparation for moving I need to start pulling my artwork out of the galleries here so---You will not find my work at River Muse in Clayton until next Spring/Summer. A big thank you to all who stopped by the gallery and bought art from this talented group of local artists and artisans. 
My artwork will still be available at Bay House Artisans in Alexandria Bay till the first week in October. Original paintings, prints, cards and the latest Fall Scarves (leaf patterns) will be in the shop till just before I leave for Lewes. Bay House is another fabulous collection of local artists and artisans. We sure do have a lot of talent in the North Country! 

And as always you can find my artwork on my website
Joan Applebaum's Windy Hill Studio
Look for me on FB and on Instagram at joan.applebaum

Thursday, August 23, 2018

36th Annual Thousand Islands Arts and Crafts Show and Sale

Look for Windy Hill Studio at the 36th Annual Thousand Islands Arts and Crafts Show and Sale this weekend August 25 and 26 at the Cerow Recreation Park in Clayton.             

Original paintings in acrylic and watercolor, prints, cards, hand-painted silk scarves and more!

Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Searching for a Focal Point

"Up with the Birds" watercolor

In the Beginning....

Often when I am teaching a watercolor class a wash technique I end up with a number of watercolor "backgrounds".  Often I am able to develop these demo pieces into finished paintings. The backgrounds are generally soft colors subtly blending into each other to create some type of backdrop for a landscape painting. This background was done in warm reds, purples and yellows; my intention was for the class to create a sunset type of painting. Since many were beginners and hadn't had much drawing experience I encouraged them to work with the idea of a silhouette against the sky. No details, just shape. Keep it simple.

My demo piece had the three colors pictured above blending subtly, but it needed something else to give it some interest so I dropped bits of yellow paint onto the wet paper and let it spread. After the paper was dry I added the silhouette of the land with a few stray weeds waving in the breeze. The end result is this painting below, a soft rather dreamy end of day (or is it the beginning of day?) landscape.

Focal Point?????

But I felt like it needed something else. Like maybe a clear focal point. The weeds seemed to be the focal point, but I felt that the sky provided a space to hold another shape or two-- or more  (remember, I'm working with silhouettes). So I added the outline of five birds in flight.  And then a sun or moon shape coming up (or down) over the horizon. One more layer of vegetation in the foreground created more of a sense of depth to the final piece.


The title "Up With the Birds" now leaves no doubt as to the time of day and identity of the round shape on the horizon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Creating Atmosphere in Your Watercolor Paintings


1. the envelope of gasses surrounding the earth or another planet
2. the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation or work of art
Atmosphere is certainly one of those words that can be understood in a couple of different ways. 

If you are a watercolor artist concerned with portraying atmosphere in either of these definitions, you might want to take my class at the Sackets Harbor Arts Center on Aug. 8 & 9 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. 
In this 2 -day class we'll be creating stormy skies, misty mornings and shimmering sunlight as well as that "other kind of atmosphere" --the pervading tone or mood of a piece. 

Topics for discussion will include: How does color, or lack of color, and composition help to create a mood? How can I imply a background without actually filling in all the space? How much white space should I leave? Detail--how much is too much? When is a painting "finished"? 
Cost is $65 for members of the arts center and $75 for non-members. All art materials are included in the fee; no need to bring anything except your creative self!
You can call the Sackets Harbor Arts Center at 315 646-3502 or visit their website Arts Association of Northern New York www.aanny.org

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

All Systems are Go! NOT!!!

Greetings from Windy Hill Studio North!

Well it is getting closer to the end of June. We've been here at camp since June 4 and we're still working on getting our systems up and running. Internet is spotty to non-existent. We seem to be in a low spot here--not to mention that we are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by huge trees! I'm using my phone as a hot spot but it really doesn't seem to pull in much wifi!

It's an interesting transition when the place to "get away from it all" becomes a work space as well as a retreat. When the systems we are used to for communication break down we are a bit lost. I rely on the internet for promoting my artwork and communicating with friends and family who are far away. To be honest I haven't completely lost the internet, but it just seems that I have stepped back in time to a place where communication moves much slower. And everything takes two or three extra steps.

Well, we hope to have our internet issues resolved by early July--maybe. Fingers crossed!
Until then I'll leave you with some Moons in June. (I just wanted something to rhyme.)

Goodnight from the lake!