Monday, March 17, 2008

Painting Painted Turtles

Painted Turtle, 2005

11 x 14

Painted Turtle II, 2006, 5 x7, sold

I love turtles, frogs and salamanders, so I paint them. Painted turtles lend themselves to paintings because of the bright colors which got them their name. My first turtle painting was done in a class at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in 2004. I wasn't a professional artist yet and was using a photo provided by the instructor, from Blooms and Blossoms magazine. There are 5 turtles on a log with their reflections in the water; a lovely composition. That painting became one of my first successes. It also gave me practice painting turtles . I still have Turtles. I am unable to show or sell it because I used an image from a magazine without any rights to it. That is fine for a student in an art class but makes the painting almost non existent for a professional artist. No photo of that
image here.

Reflected Turtle, 2008, 8 x 10, Sold

I began a quest for my own painted turtle reference photos. Omega Institute, a holistic camp in Rhienbeck NY provided the perfect location. They have a lake filled with Lily Pads and teaming with turtles. My family went in 2005 and I got enough photos for many paintings. While my daughter went to a children's program, my husband, Jeff, took Leif and I out in a canoe. Jeff paddled from the stern and Leif, who was about 3 years old, sat in the middle. I sat in the bow with my camera poised and took shot after shot of turtles. I LOVE having a digital camera. I had never been much of a photographer in the past but it is fantastic to be able to take 100s of images and delete the ones that are not good. I took at least 100 images.

My first professional turtle painting was Painted Turtle in 2005. Yes, I need to get more original with my titles. I realize that. It is an 11 x 14 watercolor of a painted turtle posed on a lily pad root complete with lily pads and yellow blossoming flower. It is still one of my favorite paintings and one of my first note cards. A student in my watercolor class bought the painting, almost before it was even dry! This image is at the top of the page.

My next turtle painting was a 5 x 7 of the same turtle, done in 2006. Painted Turtle II is simple, colorful and makes a nice note card also. The painting sold at the New Hartford Festival of Arts in October, 2007. This image is 2ND from the top of the page.

I went back to Omega last summer for a painting class with Jeanne Carbonetti. I took a kayak out on the lake almost every day with my new digital Canon with the 12 x zoom lens. I was a happy camper. There were times when I had to back up the kayak just to get the whole turtle or group of turtles in the view finder! It was turtle photo heaven. I have more turtle photos to paint from, including groups of two, three and four. Now I even know how to edit and sort them in Paint Shop Pro.

I finished two new turtle paintings in the last month. Reflected Turtle is an 8 x 10 watercolor. The turtle in the photo was on a lily pad root that wasn't very attractive and viewers might not even recognize what it was. I painted the turtle on a log instead which was a kind of interesting process. Baby Turtle is a 5 x 7 of a young painted turtle. I changed the lily pad root to a piece of drift wood for this one. I happened to have a small piece in my studio to use as a reference. It was interesting to paint partially from a photo and partially from real life.

My attempts at posting the images and arranging the text didn't quite work. Baby Turtle and the photo references are posted in the next log.

Baby Turtle is still available for $115, including double mat and frame.

No comments: