Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Study of eyes

"Study of eyes" by Hilary J. England, Conte on paper

I have been studying certain body parts that I find fascinating, and you can never be a true master of-- such as the eyes. I want to study them from all different angles, all ages, etc. ❤️

Monday, November 27, 2017

Study of shadows and light

"Autumn dusk: study of light and shadows" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11" 2017

It's been a while since I have been outdoors painting. I was clobbered by an MBA math course plus extra teaching gigs, and poof, just like that, 8 weeks evaporated from my life. Not cool. But, that's all over now, and time to throw myself back into my work more fully, even with approaching holidays and new year. No difference to me. Don't get me wrong, I am no grinch, but I need to do my work to feel happy, so that is my priority.

This little painting made me happy. The sinking light was wonderful and peaceful to behold. The cool shadows and the warmer, glowing light just set my soul at peace ❤️


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

End of Summer

End of Summer, and it's going out with lots of heat!  I was working on this the other day, and even in the evening, the heat and gnats were enough to make me leave at the halfway point and go home.  When I got home, I decided not to abandon the painting, and paint it "par coeur" (from memory) so, it's half plein air, half par coeur.  It's a hybrid!

I'm looking forward to the change of seasons -- I always do.  This summer was both hectic and a little chaotic -- it slipped by quickly, and yet, I still feel that frustration of not getting all the things I wanted to, even though I was very busy.  I guess it's just the way it goes sometimes.  

I have a list of nearly 100 portraits to complete, and I'm chomping at the bit to get them done, but as I'm also simultaneously working on my Master's, the recent calculus/statistics course I'm embroiled in is taking a lot of time away from my other projects.  As frustrating as that is, I know I must first apply all of my energies into that course, because it's once and done.  Second week of November, things go back to routine for me, so it's not that far off, and my competitive nature will not allow me to have a bad grade in the course, haha.  It just won't.

So, with that, back to work, and I hope Autumn is beautiful for us all.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

First day of Autumn

"Monarch on the wild coneflower" by Hilary J. England
Oil on canvas, 8" x 11"

It's been a while since I've posted.  I guess I just got so busy, and trust me, I've been very, very busy.  But, I'm happy I was able to go out and paint on this beautiful, first day of Autumn.  

God bless!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Healing Hearts Portrait

"Aaron R." By Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 12" x 16" 2017

Here is another portrait I just finished for Healing Hearts Thru Art.  I have at least another 10 to complete as of today, so I will be keeping busy with them for the next couple of months, in between commissions and some outdoor painting.  Summer is flying by....

Monday, July 24, 2017

The chickadee and the sunflowers

"The chickadee and the sunflowers" by Hilary J. England

Oil on canvas, 8" x 11" 2017

Since my chuckle patch of sunflowers are in bloom, I have watched the little sparrows and chickadees resting in the branches, so I decided to go find some more similar vistas out a little further, with no townhouses to break up the view.  I was able to find a quick view not too far from home, and actually get done before the monsoon arrived.  I needed to take a break from portraits, both of the living and the ones who have passed, and just paint a happy landscape -- as Ross would say back in the day.

I forgot how much I loved painting them, just in the month or so I have not been out and about.  I can't let time slip by me like that again, no matter how busy, or how good the cause.  It just leaves a hollow, empty feeling inside me, and I didn't know why until I started working on this, and the joy flooded in as I looked around at nature. Just glorious ❤️ 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Janine and Mark

"Janine" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 12" x 16"
"Mark" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 12" x 16"

"Janine and Mark" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas --each panel 12" x 16"

I finished Janine and Mark's portraits today-- more commemorative portraiture for Healing Hearts Thru Art. Brother and sister, both passed on from illness. I hope the portrait paintings will bring their Mom some comfort.

I have quite a bit of portraiture work these coming weeks, but that's good--I love doing the work, and I know how much this helps the parents when they receive the portraits. And, that-- bringing God's beauty and love through art, is what art is all about-- at least to me anyway ❤️

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Korey Harwood

"Korey Harwood-11/10/2017" by Hilary J. England, 12" x 16" oil on canvas

This is the finished portrait of Korey Harwood, another portrait completed for my art outreach ministry, Healing Hearts Thru Art. Korey especially touched my heart. While I was painting him, I felt a most amazing connection to him-- very strong. His eyes kept "talking" to me, quietly and persistently. It's as if he wanted me to be aware of him, and to make sure I absolutely captured his essence, for his Mom. It was a very intense experience.

I have a constant stream of requests through this ministry, and as I read the stories of these people who are now gone, I feel a deep longing for their families. I pray for their comfort and for God's peace for them. I pray the portrait will give them joy, and fond rememberances of their children who departed too soon. The work can be grueling, but it is very rewarding. I thank God for the privilege to be able to serve these parents and families.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Janine part one

Janine in progress-- oil on canvas, 12" x 16"

 I have started another portrait for my nonprofit, Healing Hearst Thru Art. I enjoy the work, because as a commemorative portrait, working solely from three to four photos, these portraits present their own unique challenges. Unlike working from life, in these portraits, you must bridge any "gaps" instinctively, rather than visually, like with a live model. This is somewhat nerve-wracking when you are like me, used to relying on the visual itself to guide me, rather than making "guesstimates". So, for that reason alone, this work is very unique and challenging.

This will be a modified diptych in a way when it is done. Her brother Mark will be painted in a complimentary, paired setting so that the two portraits can be paired into one frame, or hung side by side as a complement. I am very much looking forward to working out this unique two part portrait piece for their Mom and family ❤️

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Old Stone cottage and wildflowers

 "Old stone cottage and wildflowers" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 11"

Lest you think I have moved to some remote place, I have not!  I was working very diligently on my new art project outreach, "Healing Hearts Thru Art", and getting that all set up.  It's a project to gift bereaved parents with a free gift of a 12" x 16" commemorative portrait of their child who has passed on. That took a lot of work getting it all set up, and even though it's up and running, it still needs lots of attention, plus I did 4 portraits in a month along with other work, so I have been a bit swamped.  The URL for that community outreach ministry is www.HealingHeartsThruArt.org , should you or someone you know who would like more information about our project.

In the midst of this, I found a little quiet time the other day to do a little plein air work locally.  I found a little decrepit stone cottage, on the edge of the cemetery on the outskirts of town, and it was just lovely.  All of the purple flowers and other wildflowers were all in bloom on it -- sweet peas, other flowers I don't even know (I will have to look them up) all over it.  The saggin doors and window frame, faded and bleached from the sun and weather -- it was just lovely and sad all at the same time.

So, now that Summer is here,  I look forward to more outdoor painting, and just lots more work in general!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

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 move forward with.  I am moving in a new direction, and decided, I am not interested in such a big scale project, when in essence, my heart is still here among the local people, the forgotten people of America.

So, that's the direction I'm going to go in, and I will very much love exploring the little towns and people that reside in them.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A walk along the canal

"A walk along the canal" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 8" x 11"
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 gone now.  I have new little ones to stroll with, but my original babies are all grown and sometimes, the nostalgia is overwhelming.

So, enjoy this fair, fair day, and here is a little painting to recall your own happy memories with!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

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 still waiting on my Ivory black reorder, I was forced to use Lamp black, which is a much flatter less blue hued black, so to compensate, I added some cobalt blue into the palette.

I have to say, this was.a challenging palette to work with, especially when you are not used to such a limitation.  Trying to build value, chroma, and contrast with this limited amount of color was a very good exercise, and I think I will do a few more for good measure.  It's good to challenge yourself and do things you would not normally do every now and then -- keeps the mind and hand sharp!

So, hopefully in the next few days, the wind dies down, and the rain stays away, and maybe I can get outdoors like I really want to!

But, when life throws you lemons, do a still life of them! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!).


Thursday, April 6, 2017

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.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

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 very much looking forward to the flowering landscape!!!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Early moonrise over the winter field

"Early moonrise over the winter field" by Hilary J. England

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.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Enchanted Forest in PA

"Enchanted forest in PA" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 12" x 16"

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 point forward :-)

~Enjoy <3

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The red cat and his girl

"The red cat and his girl" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 18" x 24" x 2", 2017

The winter always gets me down a little, especially after New Years'.  This year was a particularly mean one, with all of the depressing stuff going on in the world, on every news station, 24 hours a day.  I have retreated into a quiet zone of Gene Tierney, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, Tyrone Powers, and friends, and also, decided that a painting of fervent love was necessary.  So, I observed our once removed red cat, Dante, and his girl, Maddie.  No matter how many kisses Dante receives, he loves them all.  Never a complaint, never an angry "meow" -- he loves and loves his kisses and his kiddies.  He is a true friend to his loving family.

Initially, I didn't think it much through.  I have really been driven by chiaroscuro these days, and more intense light.  The backlighting on this pose was just to delicious to resist, and a bit unconventional, so I had to just go with it, good or bad.  And, I happen to like the end result--I think the dramatic light worked for the composition, and to show the fervor of their love.

I was once staunchly against the use of black in my paintings, as were the Impressionists, using Van Dyke brown and ultramarine or another combo with Van Dyke brown, if I wanted to achieve a truly dark tone, because I felt black was too flat, and too cold, but I have been employing Ivory black lately, and I feel the warm, brown undertone is really good for dramatic compositions, and so, the ban on black paint is officially over.  My obsession with studying light and it's nuances is really piquing now, so look for more to come, at least in my figure work.  In my landscapes, I'm still about things being bright and airy...I guess it's just a way of pleasantly looking at the world in a state of hyper beauty!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cardinal on the old fence.

"Cardinal on the old fence" by Hilary J. England
Oil on canvas, 8" x 11"
My obsession with cardinals continues today.  I painted this and it was raining, but what drama is there in painting a cardinal in the rain?  Snow is much more suiting, so I improvised.  That's what's wonderful about painting--you make your own decisions, and you create whatever strikes your fancy. I'm not a firm believer in always painting what you see.  There is no fun in that at all.

So, again, I was working with a limited palette here of Van Dyke brown, Cad red deep, Ultramarine, Indian yellow, Titanium white, and Burnt Umber.  I was able to catch this pretty quickly, and substitute the driving rain (and change it to snow) and the washy white background that was melting fast, and make it into a snow scene.  The bird was very cooperative.  He basically just sat there, by himself, looking pretty satisfied.  Well, I guess he had eaten a lot of seeds and was content.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cardinals in the snow

"Cardinals in the snow" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 8" x 11"

I have been very busy as usual, but not too busy to stop and enjoy the falling snow and the visitors that appeared at the bird feeder right after: a group of social Cardinals.  They were so sweet, and seemed to be having a brunch or some sort of little get-together after the snow ended.

It isn't always easy to set up and capture a scene quickly, but you do get used to it after years of practice.  I have a very basic pochade box, and I paint very quickly, utilizing a limited palette many times.  This time was one of those times.  I used only Van Dyke brown, Ultramarine, Cad Red deep, Indian Yellow, and Titanium white.  This allows for a rapid study without too many color choices that can become troublesome if you are trying to do a basic study.

I love cardinals--they are one of my favorite native birds, as the are both stout and elegant, and of course, their color.  This was a very enjoyable painting for me, and I don't mind painting in the cold.  As long as you take certain steps and precautions, painting outdoors in winter is not a miserable experience.  Always make sure your head and feet are warm and dry, you keep your medium covered so it doesn't gum up, and work rapidly if it's really cold (your paint can actually get inconsistent and "gloppy").  Other than that, enjoy!. I always do.  Be sure to bring a thermos of hot tea, coffee, or whatever you like that's hot.  It helps both for your body and your soul <3


Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Fourth of July

"Fourth of July" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 24" x 36" x 2"

I finished this larger studio painting the other day, but the weather was sloppy, and it prohibited me from photoing outdoors, which I prefer, so I had to try to make do with an indoor photo session.  My verdict: Not so much, haha.

Anyway, I really enjoyed doing this painting, both from studies, and par Coeur, because it put me into the mindset of warmer days as the snow was falling.  I, of course, had to go out and paint in that snow, but I'll post that painting tomorrow.  One painting at a time!!! Let me not run away with myself.

Here's to dreaming of warmer days and summer evenings~

Carry on- Beginning Life in Lockdown

“Study of dramatic back lighting” oil on wooden panel, 16” x 16” Strange Times Beginning Life in Pandemic Lockdown Life in ...