Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Apple a Day

Apple a Day
original oil painting on canvas on hardboard, 5 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

Today the snow is falling so I suppose this means March came in like a lion and is also leaving as a lion. So much for Spring. Winter seems to be here for a few more days.

This little painting was done from life. I am trying to get back into the groove of painting after doing a few conte drawings. I still have a couple more that I plan on doing of my little grand daughter and I just finished up a commission portrait which I will post sometime this week. Tomorrow the painting for Karin Jurick's site for other painter's interpretations is due. I am working on it this evening, but now time to take a break.....I need an NCIS TV fix.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Sweet Little Lass ~ Teagan

conte on toned paper, approx. 7 x 9 inch
copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

This morning I awoke to my cell phone sending me a message that my flight to Minneapolis had been upgraded. My days in the warm sun are nearing their end.

The above drawing is a quick sketch of my sweet granddaughter. She is a bundle of joy and as active as can be for a wee one. She has captured my heart and I am sure I will need to make many more drawings of her. What a challenging model she is! If I can catch her in a still moment, that means sleeping, I will try to draw from life. For now though, the best way is to take numerous photos and then work from them.

I may work on this one a little more, but for now I will let it sit a bit before doing anything more to it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Visiting AZ and an eBay Update

Here is the latest chart for the eBay listings for Daily Paintings and for auction only. It looks like there might be a downward trend on the percentage of paintings sold. The current average for selling a daily painting on eBay is 19.2%. However, if we just look at the month of March, the average is 16.5%. The straight purple line in the graph is the average of 19.2%. The points are data that I collected on various days and times.

This week and next I will be visiting my little granddaughter in Arizona, so I will post when I am able. I hope to get some sketching in as the wild flowers are out and the days are sunny and warm. If anything, I will take some photographs!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Maple Syrup Day

"Getting the Tools Ready for Tapping a Tree"
photograph copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

"Drilling a Hole for Tapping"
photograph copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

This afternoon the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) at Wild River State Park in Minnesota gave a tutorial and some hands-on experience for tapping maple trees. This will continue each weekend during the month of March. This is my first time to actually learn about this and see how it is done.

During March different teams will tap trees and gather syrup. It will be stored and then at the end of the month, there will be a cooking day to boil down the sap, removing the excess water and increasing the maple sugar content. This is done outside with a wood fire and a long trough for the liquid. March 29th starts the cook-off day.

Today the "A" team consistent of several members and ten buckets, drilled, sterilized and tapped ten tree locations to gather their sap. Trees that have at least a 10" diameter trunk are chosen for the ones to share their nectar. In the Native American tradition, tobacco is left prior to tapping as an offering to Mother Earth. Anything that is taken should have an offering of thanks. The trees had been marked with blue ribbons to avoid any confusion for the folks selecting a tree. Some of the trees were quite large in diameter so they will actually have two taps on them. During the month, folks will come back to check the buckets and empty them. The collected sap is taken back to the storage area to be cooked down later.

On a good day, the sap could drip as fast as 300 drops/minute. Today the drops were slow in coming and some just weren't coming at all. As the days warm up and the nights remain cool, that will definitely change. Spring is just around the corner. Thank goodness. It has been a long and cold winter.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tabasco No. 3

Tabasco No. 3
original oil painting on canvas on hardboard, 4 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

Goodness, I am longing for Spring. Soon I am heading south for a break from the snow and cold temps. Sure enough as soon as I leave, the weather will warm up.

Today I decided to do the Tabasco sauce bottle. This one definitely looks better in life. I have also bee working on a commission, but I decided to just put it aside as I await feedback from the client. Commissions are difficult when a person is not local. This one is of two beautiful children, but atlas, I do wonder if I have captured their essence. Once it is completed, I will share the final drawing with everyone.

Now time for some hot sauce to warm things up in this cold climate of Minnesota.

Soon I will post tips on taking photos for commissions and the best shots.

Click to bid.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mannequin Squares

"Mannequin Squares"
conte on a toned paper, 20 x 24 inch
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This is my version of the latest challenge on "Different Strokes from Different Folks". Needless to say, the photograph was a bit intimidating, but it also inspired several ideas. I decided to do my attempt in conte as I am going back to basics to get my skills in order. That means, a lot more sketching. I now carry a small sketch book in my purse where ever I go to do small quick sketches. I still plan on painting...after all, painting is just sketching with a brush.

Lately, I have been feeling a bit lost with where I want to go with my art....so sketch, woman , sketch. The muse will let you know....