Monday, February 28, 2011

The pendulum slowly swings...

"Ellen (outdoor gestural study)" by Hilary J England, 8" x 10" oil on canvas

I was out and about yesterday, enjoying the first hints of Spring, when, lo and behold, I could not believe my eyes, but there on the side of the road, in all of his beauty, was a large male pileated woodpecker!  I was so stunned at his brazen location on the side of the rural road, I stopped the car, threw it into reverse, and crept backwards to see if he was real, and not some decoration someone put on their property.  Indeed, he was no phantom, and I scrambled excitedly to get my camera, opened the sunroof, stuck my body carefully through the window and...HE WAS GONE.  Ugh.  I guess I'd make a lousy reporter.

At any rate, I am still happy to have seen him, since I know they are around, but in all my local travels, I've never seen one...just like I've never seen a bald eagle yet.  So, this definitely made my day.

On an annoying note, somewhere through all the contortions yesterday, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder blade, and I feel as stiff as a mummy today, which is driving me nuts since I have lots of stuff to get done, and not being able to move very well is not helpful to anything.  I took another bit of ibuprofen, and hope that will do the trick.

Tomorrow I drop off my work in NYC for Red Dot this week.  Thursday is the kickoff, with an opening reception from 6-9 pm, a cocktail party at the Strand Hotel on Friday night, and then the close of the exhibition on Sunday evening at 6 pm.  It should be an interesting and fun weekend.

I left you with another small plein air nude, done with another local model.  I keep focusing on warm, warm, warm!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red Dot NYC coming....

Red Dot New York City will be upon us soon, and I very much anticipating having a good weekend.  I will have five paintings in that show:  three from my young adult series, and two small paintings from my beach series.  It's going to be a fantastic show, of that I'm sure!

It will run from Thursday March 3rd, 11 am to 6 pm, with the Opening Reception from 6-9 pm, then it will run all weekend from 11 am to 8 pm, except Sunday, when it will run 11 am - 6 pm.  I hope to see some friends there--it will be a good time for sure!

Anyway, the campaign website has been having a few bugs, which is annoying, but hoping to get them ironed out as well.

In the meantime, enjoy the little study I did above last summer with a small group of plein air painters with one lovely model.  We would do that on a weekly basis, with a different model each time, and I have some really nice little rapid gesture studies I did in the "wilderness."  I kind of like the idea of nudity in the wilderness...must be the primeval part of me LOL

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New oil study and new Snow!

"Gray day on driftwood bay" oil on canvas 8" x 10" by Hilary J England

We have new snow!!  Enough said about that :-o   

Things are moving along well for my campaign regarding the Florence Biennale.  I have some nice pledges coming in, and the press has picked up my story, so I hope that the general public has some Art lovers out there that will want to kick in and help, even if it's only a few dollars.  Hey, little bits add up to big things!

I have been working away on my newest pieces, and doing some little still life paintings at night.  I made a promise to myself to keep "limber" by producing one rapid little painting a day, on top of the usual studio time I put in.  When I am working on big pieces, it's easy to get absorbed into them.  These little paintings or oil studies, just flow quickly--it's like a lightning rod between mind and brush...they clear the cobwebs out and keep the painting flowing smoothly.  It's not about producing a masterpiece with the little paintings...think of them as your notes before your final report.  Even if it is good, it's not the final piece, and never will be.  That's what these little paintings are about.  Practice and preparation!

Red Dot NYC is nearly upon me!  The show goes off on March 3rd and runs that weekend through to March 6th.  It's at 82 Mercer Street in New York City, and I'm told it's a really amazing exhibition.  I am looking forward to it.  I have printed up some materials to be distributed during it, but I don't know if the printer will have them in time...oh well.  At least the stuff isn't dated and can be used in the next show...

Anyway, enjoy the little study above.  It's from when we were in Maine, and it's called "Gray day on driftwood bay."  Say that ten times fast!!!

And remember friends, I still need your help, so please support an Artist!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Scent of Spring, and I don't mean a fabric softener!

"Spring tulips in orchard study" by Hilary J England, oil on canvas panel, 8" x 11"

I once read a humorous quote that asked the question, "Maybe this world is another planet's hell"  and I mused over that for a moment, and sometimes, when watching the news or some other calamity, you might actually get a moment's twinge that it may be possible, but when you go out on a warm, damp, grey morning like today, and smell the impending Spring on the air, and all is quiet and good in the world, you can only smile and think, "This world is beautiful."  So, out the door with such a silly theory!

Yesterday was a hellish sort of a day for me, and with that being said, I'm just glad it's over.  I slept like a baby, and woke up feeling a 100% good, I laid there and just felt comfortable, not wanting to move, just gazing at the weak sunlight that flickered through the room, and felt relief...

I have a busy day today, and tomorrow, but I will find moments to step back and just enjoy the beauty that is around me.  Sometimes, even when I'm painting, I lose sight of that, and everything becomes a task, a chore, an annoyance, but if I step back a moment, take a breather, close my eyes and clear my mind, it becomes clear and peaceful again, and I can smell the scent of Spring, and I can be happy for that moment.

So, that's what I'll do.  If it works, keep at it!

P.S. Enjoy the landscape from Spring...I'll keep posting the warmer weather studies♥

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scent of Spring

"Green butterfly and fireflowers" by Hilary J England, oil on canvas panel, 8" x 11"

I sense a scent of Spring!  So, another study from warmer days!

Things are moving along today...although I had another "no show" employee.  It's hard to find good help nowadays...even when you pay generously.  I guess there are alot of secretly independently wealthy individuals out there!

I have to run quite a few errands today, so the painting will have to wait until I return.  It's supposed to be "warm" today, so that makes me energized and looking forward to the afternoon...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paging Spring!

"Butterfly and sunflower" by Hilary J England oil on canvas 8" x 11"

Paging Spring!  We need you on the floor STAT!  This frozen weather has grown beyond tiresome, and it also seems that it sucks the life out of everyone, especially the most frail.  I have yet another funeral to attend this Uncle, who passed away on Saturday night.  I am finished with the sad procession of trips to the cemetery.  I am desperate to see the little green sprouts of renewed life coming up from the dark, damp soil...

I have Red Dot NYC coming up the first weekend in March, and a few other shows to prep for, so back into the frigid weather which is my studio.  I am armed with some kerosene and an extra bundle of wood, so hopefully I can get warm enough to work comfortably.  I usually forget the cold until it hits my toes, and once they get numb, I can't ignore it anymore...Feet are terribly important!

So, I hope you enjoy the quick oil sketch's all about the warm weather!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Think Spring!!

"Butterfly and lilac study" by Hilary J England, oil on canvas panel, 8" x 11"

We're supposed to have some warmer weather coming our way, and that is a great relief!  I'm getting tired of hauling my paints in from my studio so they don't get all funky.  Plus, I have been working on some sculpture in clay, and that needs to remain indoors as well, so it's getting pretty cramped in my little office...

Working on several new projects, and of course, my fundraiser.  I have gotten some private pledges, and am working to bring everything to the public...i.e.:  Publicity.  The dirty word...Anyway, one step at a time.  I never did like getting ahead of myself, although that seems to happen on a routine basis! 

In the meantime, enjoy my study from last year of the monarch butterfly.  That always brings memories of warmth and sunshine!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Getting in gear!

"Sand dollars and sand swirls study" by Hilary J England, oil on canvas panel, 8" x 11"

I am getting geared up to go live with my campaign to fundraise for the Florence Biennale.  It was hard work, and there is still alot of hard work that needs to be done, but I am up to it. 

First and foremost, was making a video under a deadline.  Making a video was like trying to take a crash course in Chinese...certainly was not an easy thing to do!  Shooting the footage was easy enough, but when I got it into Photoshop to edit it--what a nightmare!  I had never used the Photoshop Premier Elements before (their video editing software), and it is NOT user friendly for a novice.  I was literally ready to rip my hair out of my head by the end of the sixth hour!

As time wore on, and other tasks started to press on me, I had no choice but to abandon the Photoshop in search for a more basic program that didn't require a Master's to operate.  I settled on good ole Window's media player, but, to add to my frustration, the video footage I shot was in Quicktime, and was incompatible with the Window's program.  At this point, I put up my white flag, and scrapped the whole thing...I had to make this deadline, and had to do it with some degree of sanity and at least a cohesive video.

I decided to go with a good old, albeit it somewhat simple way of communicating the video....slideshow format of the work, interspersed with on scene photography, background tracks, and viola:  the video was done in about an hour and a half.  Whew! 

So, when Indiegogo goes live, I will post the link!  I am excited to work on this project, and look forward to the positive end result of it...

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my study of sand dollars...I've got the beach studies out to keep up the warm vibes!  Maybe Spring will come early after all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winter weary

"Conch shell study with blue" by Hilary J. England, 8" x 11" oil on canvas

I guess everyone is winter weary at this point.  More snow coming tonight, along with some ice...I did manage to get most of my traveling about done, so at worst, it's just messy out.

I have been working on several large projects, under a deadline, so I have been quite consumed...but, here is another shell study to keep the thoughts flowing toward balmy weather and the beach!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Astounding!! Florence Biennale 2011

"Single spiral seashell study" by Hilary J England, 8" x 11" oil on canvas panel

I received a packet today inviting me to participate in the prestigious Florence Biennale 2011.  This morning, I received a large envelope in the mail from the Scientific Committee of the Florence Biennale inviting me to participate in the 2011event. Very exciting indeed!!!!

Initial inquiries led me to understand that I had been selected from my website. There is a committee of some 30 members world wide who look for artists to invite. These members have credentials that allow them to choose artists with a degree of ability and attainment in their chosen field of the arts.

After the initial listing of your name for consideration by the worldwide committee member, your work is submitted to the Internal Scientific Committee before final acceptance. This is done before you receive the invitation. So should you receive an invitation, then it is important to remember that you have already passed this process...pretty cool
Also, once you are invited, you are always included for life......again, pretty cool.

The Florence Biennale is the largest democratic artist supported Biennale in the world with over 840 artists from 180 countries. It hangs 2500 artworks for a period of 10 days mainly in the one center. It is part of the United Nations initiative "Dialogue between Nations" and is expressly for the bringing together of artists to unite in peace and share with each other. It is not an Art Fair as the work is not for sale; It is not a commercial venture for artists, but a juried art competition with awards. It is an excellent opportunity to promote your work, meet other artists and learn from them. This Biennale is more about providing a venue for artists to learn what is happening word wide in the arts from each other and gain an understanding of each other and build networks in a democratic way.

Many really great artists have participated in this event, including internationally acclaimed artists like Marina Ambramovic, Shu Yong, Gilbert & George and David Hockney, to mention a few.
Another plus about Florence is it is the seat of the Renaissance, the home of Leonardo and Michelangelo, the Uffizi and the visual arts, while Venice is the home of theater, festivals, masked balls and performance art-- as a visual artist, Florence is truly the place to be!

So, after initially being bowled over by this great honor, then the wheels of logic began to spin--and the mechanics of participating in this great event, but, one step at a time...more to come on that subject!

In the meantime, I will just post another little tidbit to keep the happy and warm thoughts going:
"Single spiral seashell study" by Hilary J England, oil on canvas panel, 8" x 11"


Stormy Times

“Stormy day in the fields - Tennessee” oil on wooden panel, 18” x 18” by Hilary J. England I painted an original study when I was in Tenness...