Happy Birthday …

•March 23, 2013 • 2 Comments

to Herself !!!

Pat

This weekend we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of this wonderful lady. There will be much partying and dancing and laughing and hugging and storytelling and more dancing. But then that pretty much describes every day with Miss Pat. Her spirit and spunk and giant heart are stronger for her 70 years of living but the smile behind those eyes still sparkles with youthful exuberance.

She makes every part of every day better and I am going to have to hold on tight as she leaps forward into this next decade.

You’ve got all my heart babe, consider yourself loved and

Happy Birthday !

The Circus is in Town…

•March 22, 2012 • 1 Comment

The painting that keeps reminding me what a small world this is…

As I mentioned in a blog post way back in January of 2011, many members of the original Circus Kirk have contacted me after learning of this painting to share stories of their time in that circus, indeed on that very truck.

This week two more people wrote asking about the availability of prints, Ellie who went on to be a teacher and photographer and remembers the “hectic” schedule traveling with the circus, and Terry who actually painted the name on this very truck.

I wanted to update the information here that yes, the original of this painting has sold and YES, I do have prints available. They are discounted for Circus Alumnae and are $125 – printed on archival paper that is 17″ x 22″ and shipping is FREE.  Please send a check or money order to my address (listed on the contact page of the website) and include the address to which it should be sent and off it will go.

Long may the circus live !

You’ve been Upgraded !

•January 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

http://www.heatherneill.com

Our brilliant tech wiz, Ross Ritchey,  has been hard at work upgrading the website. Most of the changes are happening in the background but what you blog readers will want to know is that we have added the HN Studio Blog directly to my website.

New posts, new paintings, new prints and up to the minute exhibition details will all be together under one cozy studio umbrella.

And… there will be one less “click” in your digital worlds…

So bookmark the link above’

stay in touch,

and stay frosty out there !

Heather

 

 

It’s FINISHED !!!!

•January 6, 2012 • 9 Comments

After a year and a half in preparation,

two weeks getting the composition just right,

one solid month of painting…and painting…and painting,

I offer you…

well, I don’t have a title yet…but here is the final apple series painting…

( remember these are just iphone photos so we’ll all have to wait for it to be varnished and professionally shot…but you’ve been waiting much more patiently than I have…so….)

And here are a couple detail shots with the parts I’ve been hiding…

I usually reserve the treat of sushi for after I’ve sold a painting…but in this case Pat is willing to indulge me.

Whew…I’m ready to have some fun with teacups now.

Nighty night.

Processing…

•January 4, 2012 • 4 Comments

We are welcoming 2012 here in the studio by painting apples.

Yes I’m still….painting….apples !

Try as I might, this final work – the seminal, keystone, massively fundamental focus of the apple themed series –  is just simply spanking my artistic self. And it’s all Chris’s fault. Back in 2010, when picking apples at the Tiasquin Orchard on the island of Martha’s Vineyard and visiting with it’s farmers, the Magnusens, my beloved gallery owner Mr. Morse had a vision. Wouldn’t it be sorta fun for someone to do a painting from the bottom of the hill looking up through the trees at a person picking apples ?

Simple idea, lovely idea…who better to do this painting than the woman whom Patricia Neal dubbed, “the artist who paints people without their heads “… Heather Neill.

OK she says and rounds up her favorite Vineyard model, Mr. Theodore Meinelt who happens to live just down the road from the orchard, and off we trot to pose among the heavily laden limbs. Now viewing this photo you will see one of the biggest challenges I faced in composition. These are ancient trees and, like so many of the island specimens which are battered by ocean storms, they are small. Wonderful for picking, and probably pruned to their diminutive height for just that reason…but when you put a human next to them he ends up looking like a giant.

One other challenge was that, good for Debbie tough for me…it was a bumper crop. Thousands and thousands of apples. I knew that in order to do this idea justice, again Mr. Morse must be thanked, it would need to be a panel large enough to let the viewer have the same panoramic feel that originally inspired my muse. And I knew that my ridiculously high standards would not let me take a pass on rendering every one of those apples (forgive me) right down to their core.

I debated, fussed, dripped with procrastinating angst…(Pat has been driven to longer and longer walks with Finn as each stressful day of whining passed) … and finally decided to use the 60″ panel thereby committing to what I knew would be weeks of work.

I started out taking daily shots of the progress with the idea of sharing the journey with you all. But I was so frustrated with the slow pace and the overwhelming amount of detail that I bagged on that early on. But now, as I am nearing the end…she says oh so hopefully… I have decided to show you the abbreviated “process” shots. I’ve been putting detail shots up on facebook  as I complete small sections and now seem to have a small but dedicated group of followers with whom I have been teasingly withholding the ” big reveal” of seeing the whole finished work.

There was a great amount of artistic license in play in an effort to wrangle the tree and background, concept and balance, in the pursuit of the “essence” of the orchard. Here is one of the dozens of photos that I used as reference…the closest to the finished comp…

The initial sketch…

First pass… Some sky…

Needs to say more about the island… so how about a water view ?

Flash forward…weeks forward…to the first detail shots…

And  now…I’m off to the easel to finish this baby. Have about two square feet of apples, leaves and branches to tighten up and one long branch to snap into shape. Might be two days of work since I have squandered this morning writing this entry…and allowing the tylenol to take effect…since the steady hours of resting my pinky on the panel to work the tiny brushes is taking a toll on my own limbs.

But I’ll get back to you just as soon as it’s done. I promise you will be able to hear the huge sigh of relief in the furthermost corners of your own apple orchards.

Memorable…

•December 20, 2011 • 3 Comments

There was a surprising gift under the studio tree this week…

John Seed has included my painting, The Beginner…

in his Huffington Post Blog as one of the top 10 Mememorable Paintings of 2011 . The painting is currently on display in the Small Works Exhibition at Gallery 1261 in Denver, CO.

From the depths of my creative hibernation… I thank you John.

Here’s the extended snippet of the comments I sent to John with my thoughts about the work…

I’ve got this friend Ted who just turned 95 and lives on Martha’s Vineyard.
Ted was a high school art teacher and artist and has spent almost a whole century now inspiring and encouraging artists. I met Ted about 10 years ago and he has been “schooling me” ever since. (I’m working right now on a painting of him in an apple orchard which he posed for last fall.)
We talk often over the phone as he lives alone now but when we are on the Vineyard we spend a lot of time with Ted.
His house is chock-a-block full of antiques and stories to go with each one.
I noticed a tin can in his kitchen one day that had a bunch of those old pencils in it.
Wonderful chunky thick lead Dixon pencils that he used to introduce younger students to drawing.
I got up the nerve on our last visit to ask him if I could have one and he said, “Oh, those old things…here take the lot”.
When I got them home to the Pennsylvania studio and took a closer look I saw that they have the word “Beginners” embossed on them. And, since I’ve recently been hammering home the importance of a strong foundation in drawing skills to a couple of our grandsons who have brought their art questions to my studio… the idea of pencil as prop began to congeal.
The pile of rocks which are from the beach in Chilmark brought it full circle back to Ted and the tiny swiss army knife was one of the few items I brought home from Florida where I had to take my father off of life support earlier this year. That experience and it’s wake have been slowly filtering into my work in some quite unexpected ways. So, while I wasn’t aware of this until I just wrote this out for you, I guess it weaves a thread through three generations… with the iconic pencil as talisman.

Still time…

•December 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

…to order studio prints for the holidays.

Our little studio workshop has been buzzing with print orders this week and Pat has been making daily runs to Fedex in the sleigh…

I’ve just updated the website but if you don’t see the painting that you want a print of…or if you have other questions about the ordering process…please don’t hesitate to contact us… hnartisan@comcast.net

Ho Ho Ho !

 
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