Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Painting in Progress

Landscape painting in progress
oil on canvas on board, 9x12 inch
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

Today I was hoping to finish up this painting, but late this afternoon I received a phone call from a neighbor. She asked if I was busy as she wanted me to check on someone and she could not get away from work. Of course, I said "no problem". One thing that I truly love about where I live are my neighbors. We all look out for one another. So this afternoon I spent helping the mother of one of my neighbors. Her freezer decided to go out and she had a freezer full of food that was thawing. This afternoon when she went to get a loaf of bread out of it, she noticed that things were a little soft. It was still cold inside, but many things had partially or completely thawed.

She just replaced the refrigerator in her house with a new one and luckily had the old one in the garage. We plugged it in and put as much food as possible in the freezer of the old frig. In the meantime, another couple showed up to help and to also check out the freezer. As we continued to get the freezer emptied by putting them in the little red wagon and hauling them over to the other side of the garage to get as many things as possible in the freezer compartment of the old frig a voice from the other side of the garage said, "Did you notice that the breaker is off"?

We still don't know what tripped the breaker, but at least we know that the freezer seems to be working.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Impatiens

Impatiens Bud
oil on canvas board, 4 x 5 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary 2008
Price: $65 unframed plus shipping

Just a small bud getting ready to pop open - the flowers on the deck in the hanging baskets are looking gorgeous. The afternoons are delightful sitting out on the deck in the hanging chair. Today though, there just wasn't much time to do lounge around. There is a small art show and festival coming up near where I live in Rush City, MN so I have been getting paintings ready and matting prints and photographs. It is the weekend of August 8 and 9 so if you happen to be in the area check it out. I also was accepted into the Little Falls Art Festival in September so this will be a good pre-run as that show is noted to be one of the better ones in the nation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cat Planter

Cat Planter on the Porch
oil painting on linen art board, 6 x 8 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

Today I did plan on just lounging on the deck in my hanging chair, reading a book and sipping a tall glass of cool lemonade. No deer flies, mosquitoes, or pesky bugs. The sitting and reading phenomena lasted about thirty minutes. No bugs!! Time to try out my new plein air easel.

Next month I am taking a workshop from Marc Hanson, an artist who lives only not too far from me in Taylor Falls, MN. I can hardly wait as it has been some time since taking any classes or workshops. Marc's style and paintings are great. Take a look at his blog as he just posted a few new ones.

Well, it took a few moments to set everything up and I am so glad that I spent the extra dollars and got one that is lightweight yet durable. Mine is an Easyl by Art Essential. If anyone would like photos of my set up, please leave a comment and I will be happy to share them on a post. For the palette, I am trying a piece of Plexiglas with the back painted grey. I usually use a piece of plate glass since it is easy to use a razor blade to scrap off the old paint, even it is dried onto the palette. Plexiglass is not so easy to scrape with a razor blade I am likes to dig into the plastic. I did get the palette cleaned off after painting today, but it took more effort than I liked. I may just build a little box and use plate glass for the palette. I have a large one (glass and box), but it is not some that is easily toted around.

The painting that I did today was of a planter on my deck. I really enjoy this planter as it reminds me of my cats enjoying the sunshine and themselves lounging on the deck. The planter is a terra cotta clay type and has a small space for flowers. I wanted this painting to be impressionistic, but it did give me fits. I finally needed to stop and just set it aside. I may try doing the same planter using charcoal or watercolors, just for fun. For now though, the oil painting is what it is.

Thanks for back to reading that book and lounging in my hanging chair.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Results of the Virtual Sketch Date.....

Final version for the Virtual Sketch
by MaryAnn Cleary
charcoal and conte on a toned MiTienes paper, image size ~ 8 x 8 inch

Below I thought that I would show the process of how I came up with this sketch. Last night I printed out the photo and cropped it somewhat. I then did a reall quick sketch to figure out how I wanted to lay everything out and move things around. This morning as I sat out on my deck (an absolutely gorgeous morning) and watched as folks drifted down the river in inner tubes, I worked on the sketch.

The first thing that I did was tape down the paper and then draw in the drawing with a conte crayon. Once everything looked like I wanted it, I then took a piece of cloth to blend everything into the paper. I continued this process using a cloth, a chamois (this actually will pick up the conte), erasers and a blending stick. I do draw with the eraser to pull off areas where I want the conte lighter. (I had a pic of this, but of course it turned out blurry so I couldn't use it).

The last thing to do is to add the black charcoal and the white highlights....for me, this can be a little intimidating as I always want to work it more than I should. One needs to be very careful at this point or it turns ugly. Don't worry though....there is always the handy, dandy eraser, but sometimes this won't even work. The trick is to take advantage of the toned paper to use for the midtones and then use the conte to add values along with the white and black.

Enjoy! Also, a thank you to Jeanette Jobson and Leslie Hawes for putting this together. Leslie for supplying the reference photo and Jeanette for administering the project. Thanks!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mille Lacs Lake

Mille Lacs Lake
oil painting on canvas board, 8 x 8 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This painting is out of my comfort zone. I really like to do more realistic paintings, but I wanted to try something new. This one has a texture laid down first and then a tint rubbed onto it. I then did a painting with a very limited palette - a red, ultramarine blue, and transparent red plus white. I don't know if I really like it or not....please feel free to comment on this one.

I think that I will try it again, but maybe with one hue and then like a drawing with a touch of color....stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Coneflower

Another Coneflower
oil painting on canvas board, 4 x 5 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This is the same flower that I did earlier, but it is now in a later stage with the petals dropping and the center rising. I tried a different technique with this one just for fun. The background is more of a deep blue and the petals and center where done with a palette knife.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day Lily

Day Lily
original oil painting on canvas board, 8 x 8 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

This poor day lily is sitting in a bucket in my studio. It had been outside waiting for me to plant it and I am a bit embarrassed to say how long. At least the poor thing is still alive and blooming. When I got it, it was just a few roots and a little foliage. Day lilies are supposed to be dug up every three years or so and thinned out. I really don't think putting them in a bucket and not planting them is exactly what the experts had in mind. However, the lily does seem to like it. So far, it has had a bloom every day this week....but then it is only Monday.

Thanks for looking and I will probably put this one on ebay. I continue to work on the small paintings for the 29-Day Giving Challenge. Later this week, I should have more posted. Please don't forget to email if you would like to be a part of the free give away.

Friday, July 18, 2008


original oil painting on gallery wrapped canvas, 12 x 4 x 0.5 inch, unframed (not necessary)
copyrght MaryAnn Cleary

The other day when I met a friend for lunch in Brainerd I happened upon a area with a few cattails. This was on the way back from my lunch meeting. Since I was in the area, I stopped at the Mil Lacs Ojibwe Native American Museum. Right there along side where I parked were a delightful grouping of cattails.

This little museum is such a nice resource of information. Everytime I stop I continue to see or learn something new. That reminds me I bought some maple sugar cakes that were made from the sap of maple trees. Trying this sugar cake will be a first for me....

Thanks for looking. This painting will be offered for auction on ebay.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Kiss and info on the 29 Day Giving Challenge

A Kiss
original oil painting on canvas board, 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch, unframed

original watercolor on paper, 4 x 6 inch, no mat and unframed

original watercolor and pen and ink on paper, 4 x 6 inch, no mat and unframed

all works copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

Today I received an email from Cami Walker which reminded me of a project that I have been working on for the 29-Day Giving Challenge. For those of you who do not know about Cami and her project, please check out her website The 29-Day Giving Challenge.

For some of you who have followed along with my blog, a couple of months ago I actually gave away a few of my paintings as part of my challenge. However, to go even one step further, I have been planning to put together 29 different paintings and a few of my photographs as part of a giving challenge. The above paintings are part of that group.

For those of you who would like to be a part of this challenge, please send me your email and I will add your name to a list that I will put into a drawing where I will pull a name everyday for 29 days. Once I have completed the 29 pieces that I plan on giving away, I will post them on the 29-Day blog as well as on a public album for all to view prior to starting the give away.

Also, for those of you who like to see Cami's recent interview with Daryn Kagan, check out the link below:

Cami Walker's 29-Day Giving interview with Daryn Kagan.

If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Aspens or What to Paint Canoeing with the Deer Flies

or Painting Inside without the Deer Flies
original oil painting on canvas board, 5 x 7 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

Goodness! This morning I thought that the day looked so delightful that I would take my one-person canoe out for a spin up river. The skies were blue, the temps delightful, the air still..... I managed to put together a light snack, bring water, the life jacket, paddles and of course the camera. I then headed out onto my morning adventure. This spring a tree had fallen and blocked the normal access to where I usually launch the canoe. No problem. Just go around it and then paddle on up the river.

Well, there is usually the initial influx of bugs and critters that hang out with you as one begins to paddle up the river. Today though the little critters seemed to multiple and intensify. What the heck? Deer flies! I had loaded my body up with DEET beforehand, but that seemed to attract them more. I reinforced the spray. Maybe I did not have enough. I paddled faster, hoping to lose the little suckers. That did not work. I prayed for a breeze...that did not work. I sprayed more insect repellant...that did not work. Finally, after three attempts to head on up the river, I gave up.

Now to just get back inside away from these little monsters. Getting the canoe back out of the water was a little more tricky than getting it into the water. My hands were swinging, the canoe moving, I am trying to get out without losing balance.....SPLASH...little *@)*&^$%%% deer flies. Needless to say, I did get out of the canoe and I did NOT manage to tip the canoe over, but I did land on my backside smack dab in the river. At least the deer flies left me alone for a few minutes!!!

Enjoy the aspens! I did this from a photo that I took earlier this year as a reference. Until I can find a remedy for deer flies, I think that I will stay inside. Anyone have any remedies for the little sticky things. Maybe a nice breeze.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Light Pink Impatiens

Light Pink Impatiens
original oil paintng on canvas board, 5 x 7 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

Here is another impatiens painting. On my front porch that looks out over the river I have several hanging baskets of flowers. It is very shaded area so these sweet flowers just enjoy being there with all the shaded and diffuses light. Along with the four baskets of impatiens, I also have two baskets of fushias..another favorite.

Today was one of those precious days where the weather was perfect...sun shining, a slight breeze and the temperature in the low eighties - a perfect day to take the canoe out. Since I live on the river, I can paddle up the river and then glide on back to my house. I have a one person canoe that only weights 43 lbs. although it sure seems a lot heavier when I am carrying it down to the river. Maybe it is because it is not exactly something that one throws under their arm. It is around 13 feet long. To get up the slow, moving river I also have one of those bent looking paddles...they work great and I can get great momentum with it compared to an ordinary paddle.

Well, enjoy the painting. By the way, this is NUMBER 100!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pretty Impatiens

original oil painting on canvas board, 5 x 7 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

The skies are beginning to darken and all afternoon the radio has been telling us that there is a MAJOR storm system on the way here. So to beat the storm, so to speak, I am trying to get today's painting on before I lose my connection. I have a satellite dish for my internet since I live in the boonies.

This painting today is from one of my hanging baskets along my porch. I have four baskets of impatiens along with some tiny blue flowers whose name escapes me. Flowers and gardening are something that I really do enjoy. I remember when I was just a wee one hanging out with my Grandmother in her garden. She taught me to plant sweet peas and how to care for flowers and the garden. When I visited with her, I always came home with slips or starts to plant in a pot.

Enjoy and thanks for looking! If you have a favorite flower or story, let me know. I can always try painting the flower. Look for this one on ebay.

Now to watch for the thunder storms....hope I don't see a one of those funnel clouds...

Thursday, July 10, 2008


original oil paintng on canvas board, 5 x 7 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

Hanging on my front deck that looks out over the river, there are two baskets of fushias. They are such a dainty flower and do exceptionally well on the shaded area of the deck. The other day I actually caught a photo of a dragonfly hanging out on one of the flowers. The hummingbirds also are attracted to these flowers with their bright red color.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Coneflower or Echinacea

Coneflower or Echinacea
original oil painting on canvas board, 7 x 5 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

There are coneflowers blooming in my garden. They have volunteered to come up along the outside of the garden...the seeds must have scattered there. Maybe flowers did not like that I had not weeded the little flower patch for some time.

Last week I started another blog called a "Mandala a Day". I take one of my photos and then manipulate it into a mandala. More on mandalas later.

After having a crazy month and a few days off, I am finally back at it for my daily painting. I am also working on some larger pieces in both oil and charcoal. On top of that I am also learning how to make my own prints using archival inks and a good quality paper. This way I have control over my photographic prints.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by. Look for this painting on ebay. It really looks a lot better in real life and is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Tree Faeries ~ Nico's portrait

The Tree Faeries
original oil painting on canvas board, 9 x 12 inches, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

This little portrait of my grandson is complete, or at least for the moment. One reaches a point where it is time to just put the painting aside and take a step back....and do not touch it. Tomorrow I will take a better photo of it in daylight versus the setting sun light. The colors are fairly least on this monitor. I am realizing that there is a big variation in monitors.

I finally settled upon a title for this painting. My grandson was staring up into the trees and was so mesmerized by the tree faeries dancing among the leaves. It was like they were having a party dancing from one branch to another.... dancing and keeping his short attention span much longer than usual.

One of my passions is portrait painting, but it has been some time since I have "painted" one even though when I lived in Arizona there was a group of us who regularly got together and painted from a model. Children are especially delightful to paint...capturing the very essence of who they are.

If anyone is interested in portraiture, Making a Mark is starting a great resource for portraits.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Working on a Portrait

Nico and the Trees (work in progress)

original oil painting on canvas board, 9 x 11 inch, unframed

copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

The past week I have been working on a portrait of my grandson. I was able to enjoy his company and that of my daughter's for an entire week last month. As a result I captured his photo many, many times.

Here he is staring up at the wonder of sky and trees and he looks absolutely in awe at the sight. With this painting, I am trying to capture that part of the child in each of us when we see something new and different for the first time. For each of us, we look at something new we should try to see it for what it is without any perceived message or expectation. Today let each of us look at something as if it were through the eyes of a child.

When working on a portrait, I love playing warm and cool colors against one another. If a person looks, the colors are seen in the skin tones. It does take practice though to see beyond what our mind tells us. The palette used for this painting is a limited one, as are most of my palettes. When doing a portrait I also like to pre-mix a few colors as it makes it easier to paint and also I am less likely of getting the portrait muddy. Colors used for this palette are ultramarine blue, cadmium red light and medium, cadmium yellow and green, alizarin crimson, and transparent earth red...and of course white. I typically use Permalba white.

There is still work to be done to the painting, but I thought I would share with everyone where I am with it back to the studio.

Comments are welcomed. Enjoy!