The quiet creek

"The quiet creek" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11" 
Here is a little study I did this week, down by the creek that splits off through town.  The day was warm, and the kids were all playing by the edges of it, squishing their hands in the mud.  It was such a timeless scene, one that could have vaulted back to the 1600's, and still, children would be enjoying their time in the creek.  These four girls and little brother in tow, all towheaded and in their play clothes.  It was very sweet to watch them enjoying the mud and without a care in the world.
The sunlight was so strong, and the shadows were alive.  I had to try to work as quickly as possible, to try and catch that moment.  I feel like I was cracking off "my shell" from winter, and trying to get the rust all gone from my mind and hand.  It was a wonderful exercise, to be sure.
I am looking to start a new series -- I am officially shelving this summer's project that I was going to mov…

A walk along the canal

It was very important for me to get out and about and do some plein air painting.  The last few weeks saw me melting away indoors, and I could feel my soul dying in inches with each passing day -- at least that's what it felt like!

I get depressed when I'm not outside, enjoying nature and the air, feeling the breeze on my face.  Oh sure, it's not all moonlight and magnolias when I'm out painting, to be sure -- there are lots of frustrations and problems to be solved, associated with outdoor painting -- but when the day is good, and all the factors fall into place, there is no better experience.  And today was one of those days.

I just happened to get a real feeling in my soul for the woman and her little child as they strolled quietly along.  I imagined my own conversations with my little ones, explaining the flowers and the butterflies, and the million or so questions they would have over everything, and it brought a tear to my eye, thinking of those days that are go…

Study of whole and cut lemons/Zorn palette

"Study of whole and cut lemons/Zorn palette" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11"
I wanted to go out and do some painting outdoors today, and this morning, the weather seemed promising.  I worked in my garden for a little while, and then when it was time to head out, the wind got very heavy.  I went to the store to wait it out, but it never died down, even knocking down a few portions of the fence in my yard that was a little rickety.  I decided that today was not a day I wanted to battle the wind, so I would sadly take it back indoors.
I had a lot of lemons -- some ripe, some overripe, and some underripe and I thought I would do a study of them using a modified Zorn palette.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with a "Zorn palette" -- it is a palette based on the colors used by the Artist Anders Zorn.  He used a very minimal palette of only Ivory black, Yellow ochre, and Crimson, and of course a white.  I did not use this exactly -- since I am st…

Red Raspberry in space

Here is a little painting I did today, "Red raspberry in space".  It was a cold, rainy mess out today, so I just decided to stay in and paint this little raspberry.  It was a good model, and tasty too.
I hoped it would have helped the stomach ache I had all day, but not so much.  I don't know what's wrong with me today, but hopefully it clears up tonight along with the weather.
I have three more paintings I am working on, studio projects, and tomorrow, will be doing some figure work.  I am so looking forward to Saturday, when the weather will be fine and beautiful, and I can go out and get some plein air painting done too.
I have a show coming up in NYC this month, but I will release the information as it comes.

Red tail in the winter field

"Red tail in the winter field" by Hilary J. England Oil on canvas, 8" x 11" 
I painted this one before the blizzard, but with all the bad weather, wasn't photographing much.  I really love the peace and serenity of the open, empty winter fields.  The cold day gave way to the whiteness of the bleached, winter landscape and then there was the beautiful, contented hawk just sitting there. The bird seemed very undisturbed by the day, or even the human (me) in proximity to him.  He just was enjoying the moment too.  He sat for quite a bit before quietly gliding away.
The weak winter light makes it hard to capture the scene, because the light can be blinding even in its high weakness.  The shadows on the hay were interesting and still pulsating.  I had to move fast to capture all the essence of the day, and before my feet froze up too much too.  It's always my feet -- my hands seem to be impervious to most of the cold!
Spring should be here next week, and I am v…

Early moonrise over the winter field

I have been patiently waiting on Spring, as we all are I suppose.  I don't mind the change of seasons at all, but when the end of Winter comes, we are usually all ready and chomping at the bit to move into the next season, and I am definitely no exception.

I have been more subdued this season, maybe because the month of February was so raucous with a lot of tumultuous news for me and my family.  Things are calming down now a bit, and I find myself just ready to do something: and that simply means more work.  More art.

So, I hope you enjoy this little study of the early moonrise over the dead field...with the new life just below the surface of dirt, waiting to spring alive with the first warmth of Spring.

Enchanted Forest in PA

It has been difficult for me to get out regularly this year and paint, and that hurts me deeply.  February was an incredibly difficult month, with several very bad, seemingly back-to-back events that happened to people I love, and I was literally rolled as if by a tsunami.  I am glad February is gone.

But, on the last day of February, I was able to put the evil month behind me with a soothing painting of the local forest.  Sitting in the gentle quiet of the woods, on a soft, rotting stump, watching the light filter through the trees.  It healed my soul and made me able to put my armor back on and get back into the swing of things!

So, I think that is what much of art is: a way to voice the voiceless feelings in our soul.  The things that wound, and the things that heal.  To mourn, and to be grateful.  To rage at our powerlessness, but to regain and reclaim a little bit of our control and translate it into something beautiful and comforting.

I look forward to a good year from this poi…