Monday, June 30, 2008

The Smell of Larkspur

The Smell of Larkspur
original oil on canvas board, 11 x 14 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

The above photos show the progress of the painting while I was painting the scene.

The painting is nearing the final stages. Here the flowers are not painted yet and there are some final touches needed for the logs.

The smell of stalks of larkspur is one that a person does not forget. It reminds me of the warm days of summer and cool breezes. With this painting, I tried to capture that moment where the stillness of the surroundings and the smell of flowers allowed one to be thankful for a wonderful summer day in the country.

This painting is a larger format and I plan on doing a few more of this larger size.

Thank you for looking and enjoy. Please feel free to leave comments on my blog.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Works in Progress.....a Charcoal and a Painting

Below are two different works that are currently in progress. The one below is an oil painting which is larger in format than my regular daily paintings (11 x 14 inch). It is in the very beginning stages, and I hope to have it finished within the next couple of days. I thought it would be interesting for everyone to see how the painting progressed. It is a view from my backyard with a pile of logs stashed up against a huge old tree. Look for more updates.
Beginning of a painting....laying the values down (about half way through the value process)
This is the very beginning stage of a charcoal drawing being done on Rives BFK paper (white). Initially, I dusted the entire paper with charcoal and rubbed it into the paper. Next I laid out the drawing with the basic forms and shapes using a charcoal stick and then also an eraser to begin pulling out the light values. This is the a very early stage of the drawing.
Look for updates on this painting and drawing. Tomorrow I will also do my daily painting as well.
Please feel free to leave a comment on my blog. Enjoy!!

Friday, June 27, 2008


original oil painting on linen canvas board, size 10 x 8 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary
What a week!! Last Monday, a friend gave me a call on 2 in the afternoon. She asked what I was doing and if I would like to join her on an "escape" to Duluth. I had an hour to get ready. She came by at 3 that afternoon to pick me up.
I had the peonies cut and put into a vase. They were ready to be painted, but my friend had other plans for me. Needless to say, I absolutely enjoyed the trip to Duluth. It is beautiful this time of year and we even managed to get a game of golf into one afternoon. Duluth is one of those places that reminds me of my home town, Butte, MT, where I grew up. It is hilly and the climate is very similar...the lilacs were just blooming. Duluth has an advantage, though, as there is Lake Superior right at their doorstep. What views this city has and what options for those of us who love the outdoors. I feel fortunate in that it is only an hour and a half away from my bad the price of gas is putting a crimp into traveling for fun. However, I do plan to get away at least one or two more times this summer to that beautiful city. There is the Blues Festival coming up.......
Enjoy the painting! This one is more on the impressionistic side. I also used a pallette knife to "glob-on" paint in certain areas. Please feel free to leave a comment (good or otherwise).

Friday, June 20, 2008


Oriental Poppy
original oil painting on canvas board, 5 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

For the first time ever, I finally have oriental poppies blooming in my garden. They are one of my favorite flowers. A few years back my Mom gave me some seed from her poppies and she got her seeds from her Mom or my Grandmother. Before I left for China I vaguely remember sprinkling them in my garden. I did have some other poppies planted in the same area, but they came up maybe one or two years...they were the ones with different colors.

This is the first summer that I have been home in over two years. The last two were spent in China. I am absolutely enjoying the ability to have a yard with a garden and my little containers and hanging baskets with all the floors. While I was in China, I did try to have a few plants, but I traveled a lot and many times the poor things just became dried flowers. Also, I really did not know where to find potting soil for the darn things.

For now, I will enjoy the three wonderful poppies that are blooming and hopefully, they will spread and come back in full force again next year.

Next...the peonies are getting ready to open. The little ants are busy taking care of the buds right now.

Enjoy and thank you for looking!

This painting is available and I will put it on ebay Monday....if anyone is interested prior to then, let me know with an email.

A side note...check out my other blog for updates on my progress with developing a series of 29 paintings for the 29-Day Giving Challenge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The View from My Studio ~ Spirit River

The Spirit River
"a view from my studio window"
original oil painting on canvas board, 8 x 10 inches, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This is the view that I have from my studio window. I finally have my easel and paints moved into the room, but it is still a bit disorganized with things waiting to find a place. This room makes a wonderful studio as it is on the lower level of my log home and is totally separate from the living space.

The river has finally began to recede. All of us who live here were a bit worried with the rising waters, but fortunately we have not had any rain in the last couple of days. Rumor had it that the Mississippi River would hit an all time high record level. What that meant to us who live on the Rum River (aka the Spirit River) is that our chances of seeing record high levels were also high. The river is still well below the record high of a few years ago. However, while I was gone, my neighbor lost another two trees and this spring I lost three trees. The yellow color in the center of the painting is where one of the early fallen trees is lying in the river and this would be where the edge or bank of the river is under normal conditions.

One of the neighbors has a tape measure nailed to a tree marking that high water level of a few years ago. Needless to say we still have several feet to go to reach that level. At that time, my neighbor actually had to sandbag his property. Mine was just at the edge of the high level. We still have a few days to wait it out, and hopefully, the river will recede to more normal levels that we are accustomed to seeing this time of year.

It is also so good to be back home and painting again. Last week I flew to Phoenix, Arizona where I enjoyed temperatures in the 110's degrees (not really, but at least it was sunny and not rainy). I actually did some work with my "other" parttime job as an engineer.

This painting is available for bidding on ebay. It is done from life from my studio window. If anyone has any comments or questions, please feel free to leave a comment on my blog or email me.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cherry Twizzler

Cherry Twizzler
original oil painting on canvas board (Raymar), 2.5 x 8 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This week has been a tough one for painting as my little grandson and daughter have been visiting with me. I did manage to get another painting in today to add to the candy series. This is a piece of a cherry twizzler that needed to be hidden away in order to have it for painting from life. It seems the rest of them magically disappeared.

This really makes a nice grouping with the other two candy paintings, the Three Cinnamon Bears and the Tootsie Roll.

A little note: next week it is going to be difficult to post as I have a commitment for working with my "other" engineering job. It is difficult sharing the left and right part of the brain as I become more involved with my artistic side, but I can either starve or I can pay the off to be an engineer for a little bit.

Are there any other left/right brain folks out there? It would be interesting to know how others handle their artistic/creative side versus the intellectual side. It has been challenging for me as there are times that I feel like I am being pulled into two different directions.

This painting is available. For more information, please feel free to contact me.

Now available on ebay.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Three Little Bears

Three Little Cinnamon Bears
original oil painting on canvas board, 3 x 4 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This seems to be a posting of little morsels of candy this week. One of my favorites are the little cinnamon bears which seem to be difficult to find. There is one little grocery store here in Cambridge that does carry them and they are a special treat. Maybe it is just age catching up with me, but when I was a little one, I swear these little critters burnt my tongue...or at least it seemed that way.

Tomorrow my daughter, grandson and I are taking a rode trip to Little Falls, MN. I was accepted into the Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair that will be held this September 6 and 7th. Since this is my first time selling my art in this show, we thought that we would check it out. I will keep everyone updated on what we find out. This show is one of the top rated ones in the nation and will be the 36th for Little Falls.

Now available on ebay.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tootsie Roll

Tootsie Roll
original oil painting on linen on board, 3 x 4 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This is one of my "wee" paintings that are good to paint using a small, simple subject. Today my daughter and grandson are here visiting and it seemed fitting to have a wee painting for the wee grandson. Tootsie rolls are simple and a favorite. The colors of this painting are basic with the red stripes giving life to the painting. The most challenging part with this little morsel was being able to paint the white wrapper against the white background and make it look like it didn't fade into the background.

For the lettering, to make it stand out and have it clean and distinct, I used a sharpened end of a paintbrush. I am finding that this works very well on a linen canvas. The lines seem to be cleaner when using this technique. This may be due to the surface prep of the canvas.

Thanks for looking and if anyone is interested in the "wee" one, send me an email. It is available.

Now available for bidding on ebay.