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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baby, It's COLD Outside, 6x6 inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

I have long wanted to do more figure painting.  Can never seem to find the time for 1) a class, 2) a drop in or 3) a workshop.  But today I felt compelled.  And this baby appeared on my easel.  No, I don't know this child, it's adapted from a Google Search. 
I used (Cadmium) Red, (Cadmium) Yellow and (Ultramarine) Blue and white, plus a bit of Burnt Umber (brown).  I love baby faces because they are without guile, their eyes are large and their skin is so soft.  I plan on doing many more.  I think a collection of these would be so adorable together!
Are the eyes the window of the soul?  Seems so.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

You Deserve It( - and my process), 6x6 Inch Acrylic Painting by Kelley MacDonald

Dead of winter... halfway through.  I have friends who are at the beach, soaking up the sunshine, playing and dining outdoors, in warm places.  No.  I don't resent you - YOU DESERVE IT.  And honestly, this winter, despite a couple of weeks of rough patch, has been sort of kind.  I hope you exult in your warm days, your tan you tried not to get (right...). Kick off your flip flops and walk the beach, let your mind wander and R-E-L-A-X.  Because... yeah... you deserve it.

And here's a sneak peek at a Work In Progress (or maybe it's done, I never know).  See, our Girls Just Wanna Paint topic this month is "Palette".  You know, like our artist's palette.  So... first I made many sketches in my sketchbook of one of those hand held wooden palettes.  My personal palette is one of two: a clear glass piece on a kitchen cart, or a disposable palette, with about 20 sheets of waxy paper.  

I. Was. Bored.

So, I thought, what if I made a wild garden (the only kind I can grow) and made a flower for each color on my palette?  I use a limited palette (to start with, anyway) of
Titanium White
Cadmium Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Light
Quinacridone Rose
Ultramarine Blue
Path Blue and
Burnt Umber

So I took a canvas and over about 4 days laid down the 'darks' of the leaves, stems and loam, and the 'light' of the sky.  At least 2 layers for the sky - at least 6 for the darks. Then.... I COULD NOT BEAR to put the flowers in!  FEAR OF FAILURE.  A friend whose opinion I respect came by and I asked her and she said,  no, no flowers.  I agreed.  Mostly.  Decided to start from scratch with a completely different idea. 

BUT THEN... I was cleaning my other house's studio out and found a big piece of mylar (clear sheeting).  I taped it over (you can see a piece of tape on the upper left corner) the painting and proceed to paint as I had imagined it.  And I am very glad I tried this.  I don't know now, if I will paint this design on the actual painting or simply adhere the mylar with the paint on it on TOP of the canvas.  But it came out exactly as I imagined it.  

Lesson:  Trust yourself.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Island Kitchen, 6x6 inch acrylic painting by Kelley MacDonald


There's a little island off the South Coast of Massachusetts called Cuttyhunk Island.  It's not a tourist destination.  It's tiny, very walkable, and you would go there for peach and quiet, for beauty and the salt air.  I was lucky 2 years ago to go and stay at the Avalon Inn, and this was their kitchen, which, btw, is my DREAM kitchen. If I ever built a kitchen it would be based on this one.  When I look at the photos I took I am taken right back to that magical time, where I met some great people and was able to sink into my art for a few days with no disruption.  And begin and end every day with stimulating conversation and fabulous food.  Every year the founders of this Artist's Retreat make magic happen for the artists, and imbed memories that last for years.  This year's spots are all taken, I believe but if you keep your eyes out, they open for registration early Fall, for the NEXT Fall.  Yoga in the morning, do what you will all day... cocktails and bonding and sharing in the evening.  Here's the website:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Church Beach, Cuttyhunk Island, 12x16 acrylic by Kelley MacDonald

This was my submission for Girls Just Wanna Paint this month, and the topic was The Golden Mean. You can read about what that is HERE.  It's a way to make sense of why we place things where we do and how it's got a mathematical reason.  
Or something.  God help me.  I either choose my compositions intuitively, or use a grid, with 2 vertical sections and 2 horizontal sections, and aim the focal point somewhere at one of the 4 intersections, but MOSTLY I try different sketches and find what one looks the best to me.
This scene is from an image I took while on Cuttyhunk, a magical week.  Lonely house, gorgeous view, endearing path down to the beach.  Or up to the house, depending.  
I love the solitude implied in this scene.  NOT loneliness, just the wonderful ability to feel the smallness of us verses the bigness of the Universe.  Of God. Of everything 'not-us'.  And how that is all OK, it's how it's supposed to be, and it just feels right.  it's much less than it would be framed, in a show, and also it will cost me much more than $10 to ship it, and that's a gift from me. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tulip Time - Already?? Original Painting by Kelley MacDonald

Time moves on and so do we all!  This has been an unbelievably busy Holiday Season, and also - I have moved, so on top of pushing out 42 small paintings for Little Pictures types of shows, and juggling 2 day jobs, I've become an Urban Girl.  Yup.  Never thought I'd like it (yes, that was me you heard kicking and screaming...) but I will admit... it is A-OK.  I never realized how much TIME I spent getting places.  Now there are endless sidewalks to explore with Paco, and even the cats do not seem to mind not going outside for their morning constitutional.
PLUS I'm super close now to my sons, and that is just GREAT.  

So these tulips grace my new space... and it is the end result of a lesson I taught at the Art Club today.  We took a photo, did 3 small quick experimental paint sketches, and settled on one to really paint.  Teaching at 2 places now, the Club and North River Arts Society in Marshfield.  I love my life!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Garden Of Color, 16x20 Inch acrylic painting by Kelley MacDonald

 "Garden Of Color" 16x20 acrylic on canvas, and acrylic on mylar

Is it March ALREADY????  Giving thanks for a not-too-horrible winter! And yes, it's GirlsJustWannaPaint day, too!  So, this month our topic was "Palette".  As usual, I tried out different ideas in my sketchbook.  What I decided on was a 'garden' depicting each color of my limited palette colors.  A limited palette is when an artist uses just red, yellow and blue (usually, like in my case, a cool and a warm of each color) plus white (and burnt umber).  

So I did my foliage, kind of happy, dancing leaves, etc. and was more than happy with it.  So happy, in fact, that I feared putting in the flowers.  What if that was a bad idea?  I'd ruin the foliage I liked so much.  I decided to take a piece of mylar sheeting and lay it over the canvas, to fit exactly, and paint on TOP of that, and then I could see if it would work.  It did.  But it worked too well.  I was extremely free and loose with the strokes for the flowers, and I like how they came out, like those exact brush strokes, very much.  I knew I could NEVER recreate them exactly.  So I am trying to see how to affix the mylar topping over the canvas.  Even though I've been told I can't do this (which is EXACTLY what to sat to me if you want me to break my head trying...) I love the 3-D effect having the mylar sitting atop the canvas gives.  Below are some close ups... (sideways of course... it's been that kind of day)

For now... it's just sitting.  Any ideas of fixing it to the canvas  LET ME KNOW.  :)

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