Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Glow

Winter is Here! The much awaited snow arrived today and may or may not stay until Christmas. Today's posting is of an earlier painting of mine that is currently hanging in a holiday show at Zumi's Coffee Shop.

Peace and Happy Holidays to all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall in New Hampshire

Bright colors on nearly every tree. New Hampshire woods in the Fall are spectacular. Unlike many of my more muted paintings, this painting reflects a sunny day with warm light.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crashing waves

The vivid blue ocean and energy of the waves crashing against the rocky shore make this painting dynamic. It is a compilation painting from memories of many ocean visits and a lot of fun to paint.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sundown on Maine Coast

This is a painting from a photo I took on our trip home from Monhegan. The sunset was amazing and we pulled over quickly to capture the beauty. It is the largest painting I have ever done...24" x 36" and was well received at my Open Studio Event this weekend. The painting conveys a quiet mood of an early October evening.

Monday, November 8, 2010

After the Rain in Essex

The marshes in Essex are beautiful every season. The dark skies and low sun on the river make a captivating view just begging to be painted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Contemplating in Robert Frost's Woods

While on a walk on the Robert Frost Trail in Vermont, we stopped to watch the wildlife on the thrushy still waters beside the path. Everything was green, even Roger's shirt!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Waiting for the Other Cows to Come Home

These black angus cows reside on Stockyard Road. They remind me of my youth when I raised black angus steers in 4-H. Cows remain dear to my heart as gentle (most of the time) souls who listen carefully and patiently wait for the sun to rise and the moon to shine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Quiet Side of the Island

Today's painting depicts a quiet and cozy Cove on an island in Maine. It is a large oil painting,
24 " x 30". Painting this beautiful scene renewed my artistic muse this week. I am working to complete several new paintings for our annual Fall Open Studio weekend, November 12 to 14. Artist Muse Studios, 9 Water St., Amesbury, MA.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lonely Artichoke

Preparing artichokes for dinner, I had to stop and paint one of them first. Thus, dinner will be a little late this evening. The challenge today was to paint the exact colors of the artichoke and to paint them very quickly with limited strokes. Too often, I fuss with the painting too much and it loses it's freshness. I think this artichoke looks both fresh and realistic enough to cook and serve for dinner.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2nd photo of Tomatoes for Lunch

More tomatoes for lunch (2 images)

I painted the same still life set up of tomatoes today that I did yesterday. As an example of how different the colors appear on the easel and photos taken in different lighting situations, I am posting two photos of the exact same painting. The cooler toned one is more true to the actual painting, but I like the incandescent light effect that warms the other photo. Unfortunately color distortions are common in art displayed on the computer.
Painting the same subject again and again is a good exercise. I enjoyed painting these tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tomatoes Anyone?

Our home has been invaded by tomatoes for the past month. Roger loves to grow lots of tomato plants in every corner of the yard. Looking for a subject for today's still life, I realized the obvious choice should be a tomato!

Ipswich River Late Afternoon (revised)

In preparing this painting for the recent Ipswich Art Show, I made a few changes to the earlier posted version of this painting. I like to think it has been improved.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Late afternoon on the Ipswich River

Last fall I took photos of our River (the Ipswich River runs through our town out to the sea) and all the fall colors. I painted this today in anticipation of the Ipswich Art Show next week. I will be contributing two paintings in a wonderful showcase of over 100 local artists from Ipswich. I am enjoying painting boats, something I never expected to be able to do. Shapes, shadows and angles make boats more fun than just landscapes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On the Way to Lobster Cove

Today's painting is of the path to Lobster Cove, Monhegan Island, Maine.
We had a wonderful trip to the Island last September. I tried to capture the quiet mood of the island in this painting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Painting Interrupted: Fire Sale

Among other family crisis this month, my daughter, Jenny's Home was Destroyed in this week's Forest Fire in Boulder, CO. She and her husband, Aaron, are safe and sound, but have lost everything to the fire. Consequently, my creative muse has turned to finding ways to help them and I haven't even tried to paint.

I would like to sell paintings to raise funds for them. Should anyone be interested in purchasing a painting of mine (posted on this blog) please contact me and we can arrange a price. This is a fundraiser. A couple of the paintings are already sold, but nearly all here are available.

You can contact me at my email:

In gratitude for your continued interest in my (interrupted) daily paintings,
Sunny West

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Watching and Waiting

This is an earlier painting I did of a small child in Kenya. I was drawn to the girl's eyes and the beautiful colors in the photograph taken by a young friend of my daughter. It is a small painting, only 8" x 10".

We are having another heat wave and a large hurricane is heading our way this week. Oh boy! Dark, wet excitement for New England this week.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lantern Flowers

Back at my studio today I found these lovely orange lantern flowers lying on my table. Someone very kindly left them there for me to find. Natural beauty waiting to be painted against a deep blue tablecloth... In spite of my plan to paint every day, I find that I need to take a break and recharge my creative energies now and then. I'll try to post daily again this month.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beach Boys

I have had a short vacation from painting this week. "Beach Boys" is a painting I did last summer of two brothers playing in the sand at Crane's Beach. Summer is fading, the nights are cooler and children return to school in the next two weeks. The leaves have already begun to change here in New England and my energy and enthusiasm for painting is returning.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Plum and Sauce

Back to painting still-lifes. Today's subject provided many challenges and many lessons. The purple plum tastes like summer's past. The small pitcher once contained Italian olive oil.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Skies over Cranes Beach

I painted this today from a photo I took at the beach a week ago. I have painted on the beach before, but I find it very challenging to carry supplies, set up and interact with all the beach goers, winds and changing cloud shadows.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Early Winter at Appleton Farm

My family visits Appleton Farm each year. It is the oldest American farm in continuous operation and now is held in a land trust and functions as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) growing food for many local families. This oil painting of the cows in their fields gained a lot of attention at a recent art show. Viewers were interested in the light on the cows and the fields.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Low Tide

The weather has cooled some and I have my muse back today. This afternoon I started a larger seascape with an underpainting that needs to dry before I can continue. The small seascape you see here was from a photo taken this weekend at Crane's Beach. I am planning a series of paintings from that beautiful and festive day.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ipswich River Meets the Atlantic Ocean

I painted this scene last summer on-site from the gardens around the hill-top Crane's Estate near Crane Beach. I painted this with a palette knife exclusively (no brush work) on a beautiful cloudy day.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Waiting to Sail

This is a large painting I painted last summer and gave to my husband for Christmas. Unable to paint for a couple of days now, I feel the need to post a pretty picture for my fans.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Park Pond

I painted this on location a couple of months ago and finally put the finishing touches on it today. The hot sticky weather is gone for now and we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the beach. We took lots of photos with plans of using them as inspiration for more paintings. Painting from photos is not the best, but it beats painting from one's imagination on most days!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jenny's Wedding Day

This is a painting I did in January of my daughter, Jenny. She was speaking with friends, gesturing with her hands, as she always does, in the photo I took from a distance. Her figure was reminiscent of John Sargent's models and I couldn't resist the painting challenge. I really like how it turned out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Essex Boats at Rest

These boats were resting in the estuaries of the Great Marsh in Essex, MA during a low tide and on an overcast day. Colors are always more brilliant when the skies are gray. It is a larger painting 18" x 22 " and much of it was done with a palette knife.


Today's painting is a very loose painting of some beets from our garden. The wet earthy beets were a deep purple color to start and then the hot spot light dried them to a muddier color. I tried to keep wetting them, without disturbing their position, but gave up and made them a quick study rather than a detailed painting. By posting my uncensored daily efforts, I continue to show my work and my challenges. Some days I am more successfully creative than others. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Candle Light Reader

This lovely silver and glass candleholder was found by the side of the road. With a little polish, it now serves as a lovely table light. The red book is "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman. Sometimes it is nice to spend an evening with candles and poetry.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Grapes Galore

Painting grapes is rather fun. There are different approaches and different degrees of exactitude. I hope today's rendition is exact enough, but not too detailed. There are many subjects that I need to paint again and again to fully understand the nuances of color and shapes. Expect to see more grapes during the year ahead.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Monhegan Harbor

I painted this from a photo I took last September on a trip to Monhegan Island, Maine. I was awed by the brilliant sunshine below the threatening dark skies and tried to put that excitement into this painting. I'm including it today as an extra posting because I was unable to paint and post a new one yesterday. I can recommend a trip to Monhegan to anyone wishing to experience a truly rustic fishing village that also serves as an artist community. About 50 people live on the island year round. The cottages and hotels are open only during the summer and fall. It is a walking, birding and painting paradise!

Captured Wild Black-Eyed Susans

Summer flowers just beg to be picked and painted this month!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Julie's Candy Bowl

Looking around in the studio today, my eyes fell upon this beautiful handmade glazed blue bowl with candy inside. I debated about removing the candy and painting only the bowl...because it is so lovely, but couldn't resist the challenge of painting the candy too. When finished, I realized the bowl by itself would have made a better composition. Today's lesson: Don't paint just what you see...paint what you see that is beautiful and artistic!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Afternoon Light in the Music Room

The light coming through the red curtains in the music room caught my eye today as I was looking for something special to paint for today's blog. Of course, the light continued to change as the clouds passed by. It is a cozy spot in our house, especially because of our favorite piano and the red red curtains.

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Let's go for a Swim

It has been too humid and hot this week. I've been working on some paintings for the blog...but haven't completed them as yet. So, today I am posting an older large painting I'd like to share. It is of the Ice Pond on Monhegan Island. Another visit to Monhegan Island would be just the thing to escape this heat!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

She Posed For Me Today

I made my first attempt at a Live Model Portrait today. The model got tired and lay down to sleep before I finished. It was more challenging to try and finish it from memory. This was initially a very loose painting, but I had to "fiddle with it more than I intended" and now it looks not quite as fresh with broad strokes as I had planned. Many good lessons today! Perhaps I should pay my model to stay awake! Perhaps I should put the brushes down when the model falls asleep? Perhaps I should find more models that are not so sleepy? I look forward to finding more opportunities to paint people. I love the challenge! I like painting living models more than painting photos of people. It is much easier and I think the results are more life-like.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Garden Fresh Broccoli and Squash

Yet another day for the air conditioner....this is quite a heat wave for the East Coast. The garden loves the sunshine and heat and is producing our dinner daily. While waiting to be cooked, the broccoli was relaxing in this white flower pot when the yellow squash urged me to paint them together. My on-going challenge is cropping a still life set-up with my view-finder so that the composition is interesting, if not unique. I hope to make progress on this skill during the year ahead. Watch and see and tell me how I'm doing.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Small Seascape

I painted this seascape last year and though it is very small, it portrays the motion of the water and the light on the shore very well.

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Lipstick Reflections

I finished yesterday's painting this morning. Sorry for the delay. This still life was far more challenging than others. I'm not sure if it is the subject or my feeling under the weather (really really humid and hot), but it shows the hard work and educational opportunity that painting every day can be.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Morning Light on the Edge of the Woods

Today's Post was painted yesterday en plein air. The painting I am working on today isn't finished yet. The light on the birch trees against the dark dense woods pleased me and I tried to capture the mood of the woods in a quick painting.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home Above the River

I painted outside (plein air) today with a group of friends called the Newburyport 10. We had exquisite weather, low humidity, lots of sunshine and wind to keep the bugs at bay. Our location was a lovely park along the Merrimac River in Newburyport. Today's posting is one of two small paintings I completed in the sunshine. It was a perfect New England summer day and I enjoyed it so much I look forward to getting outside more often with my paints. The morning concluded with a group lunch at a Chinese restaurant with lots of friendly conversation and laughter. I am so lucky to be an artist!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Delicious Peaches to Share

These peaches were too pretty to eat without painting them first. After a long hiatus I returned to my studio today to paint. I had a wonderful time there visiting with artist friends who share studio space in our old mill building. Belonging to a community of artists is vital to me and many other artists, as well. The support, encouragement and critical feedback from other artists sustains my passion for painting. We share ideas and resources, inspirations and experiences, personal lives and triumphs. Sometimes, we provide "talk therapy" and "art therapy" for each other. Other times, we share vegetables from our gardens! Today I shared these peaches with Sandy for lunch.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lubec Gardens

This is a painting I did a month or so ago. It is from a photo taken on an overcast day. When the light is gray the colors of flowers are more vibrant. This is a special addition to July 20th posting.
Doesn't it look inviting?

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Ready for Work

With little time to paint today I attempted to do a "loose" style painting of some of my brushes. Not entirely happy with this painting, but honestly putting my results on the blog each day, I am posting it anyway. I don't feel it is always very wise to hurry when painting. However, when painting alla prima and especially in plein air it is often necessary to rush to finish something before the moment passes, the light changes or the rain comes. I wasn't facing any rain in the house today, but I did have an appointment to keep. Lesson learned....start the painting earlier in the day!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Roman Feast

This loaf of Italian bread, colby cheese and grapes became the focus of our afternoon snack and then, at my daughter's request, the subject of today's painting. It is true that anything can be painted. But, I am also learning that some subjects make more interesting paintings than others. So far, on this venture to paint something everyday, I like my Peaches and Cream painting the best. Perhaps I will paint more pewter with fruit in the weeks ahead.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maine Coast with Lupines

The coast of Maine is renowned for the explosion of Lupines in June. Another too hot day today so I chose to paint indoors from a photo. I hope to visit Maine again this summer and paint some of the incredible views of the villages, the ponds,the rivers and the sea. Summer light and sea breezes make Maine a favorite location for many artists.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cherries on Top

An ice cream dish filled with Cherries for a hot and humid Saturday afternoon. Yum. But, first I had to paint them.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Ocean Beach in Summer

At my niece's request I painted an ocean scene today. Being one of the hottest days of the year here in New England, it was pleasant painting the cool blue of the sea. The beach and lagoon are inviting, but you need to walk down the cliff to get there. (I painted this one from my photograph in an air-conditioned room.)

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garlic, Asparagus and Zucchini

The garlic appears to be protected by its vegetable friends. Which should I cook for dinner? Now that they are captured on canvas, maybe all three will find themselves in the pot tonight! I am finding that painting vegetables and fruits is helping me better understand color, reflections and shadows. I hope these exercises will enhance my larger landscape and portraits paintings. I am really enjoying these 6 x 6 inch paintings. It is possible to complete a painting in a day. In the past, when I would spend days on a painting, albeit much larger paintings, I would have trouble re-mixing colors and trouble remembering the inspirational concept that I had when I began the painting. The emotional intent and ambition to paint something can be a fleeting feeling. Yet, without inspiration, a painting itself can lack feeling or expression. I am excited to paint these little compositions and hope that my excitement shows in my paintings.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peaches and Cream

Peaches need to be picked and painted in July. Many summers of my youth were spent picking delicious fruits in California. I never ever imagined I would someday be painting fruit! I learned to paint late in life. I learned that if you want to do something new, just begin and with practice you will improve enough to really enjoy your efforts. Because of the dark and wet skies today, I was unable to photograph my painting outside and the colors appear more blue than they are. The small pewter pitcher looks more like dark pewter in the actual painting.

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