World on a String ~ Kite Flying, Family & Plein Air Painting on the Beach Send Me Soaring

Six children, eight kites, a five gallon cooler, four grown-ups & Grammy!

If you notice, I didn’t list Grammy with the grown ups. No mistake!

Painting en plein air with my grandchildren on the beach, I became a kid again.
kites on a beach painting
Let’s Go Fly a Kite, 8″ x 10″ oil, Purchase this painting

Thinking I might capture quick portraits of the kids playing in the water, I hauled my painting gear over the dunes and set up my easel near the water.

Painting on the beach at Bavon
Painting on the beach at Bavon

Instead, 10-year-old Fiona watched me paint her mom and dad side by side with their kites ~ being kids!

I showed her how to block in the colors. Not too serious, simple shapes to make the eye think it is looking at a real kite!

Who knew I was talking to myself?

plein air painting on the beach
Fiona took her turn painting while her dad watches.

Looking at the picture of Fiona painting her ocean of dreams, with her dad watching over her ~ I see myself and my own dad.

Painting with Fiona that day shifted my gears. Somewhere between the paintings, I took my own advice and played with chunks of color.

It happened first as I played with this small painting of the lighthouse. At first I didn’t see the lighthouse. I knew it was there, so I walked down the beach to get a closer look.

New Point Lighthouse painting
New Point Light, oil, Prints Available   Purchase this painting>

Selecting this vantage point, I blocked in chunks of color. At first the lighthouse was light against light clouds. Then I changed angles slightly and began to see it as a shadow shape in front of the light background.

Seeing darks and lights is a lot like seeing the cup half full or half empty. I had become so avert to looking at the dark side of life, it was difficult to see the dark shapes. Light and dark define us. Einstein said everything is relative. And so it is!

Adding the line of dark dune grasses defines the foreground ~ and creates space beyond for us to see the lighthouse.

Does it look like lady liberty to you too? or is it just me?

flying kites on a beach painting
World on a String, 8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, Purchase this Painting>   prints available

I did see the light that day. Without even realizing anything had changed, I painted “World on a String.” While three of the kids flew their kites in the dunes, I played with color.

Simple and to the point. And yet …

It’s taken me a couple weeks to realize the shift in these paintings ~ and in myself. I set them aside and worked on my fabric project. Coming back to them, I feel the utter playfulness and joy I felt that day.

And I realize their exuberance and joy is now mine to treasure for a lifetime!

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Garden Party Inspires Wearable ART!

On Tuesday I painted the garden party at Mary Claire’s.

Wednesday shimmering hydrangea blooms, striped parasols, and wet winged butterflies fill my studio on hand painted rayon and poly crepe de chine. The garden party morphed into a collection of fabrics!

In high school I block printed fabric to make my own clothing. Sewing the first yard to create an off-the-shoulder top, I feel like a girl again.

Now I see EVERY painting as fabric. I hardly know where to begin! Perhaps you’ll tell me where you would start?

Wet Winged Butterflies

Butterfly Top
Butterfly Top in Warm Fusion, Cool Fusion is show above, available in rayon or soft Jersey, See ordering info>

Butterflies symbolize transformation. Metamorphosis, caterpillar dissolves to leave a wet winged butterfly emerging from her cocoon.

Hanging on the edge where one can see the sun and dark cocoon simultaneously, I’ve laced the wet winged butterflies with layers of energetic lines that change as you move in the light.  I Call it Butterfly Fusion.

Impossible to photograph, you’ll have to wear it to experience the full holographic effect. You’ll find them in my Online Trunk Show this summer only.

Morphing Art > Fabrics

Wearing my heart on my sleeve, I painted A Lily Pond of My Own triptych before I went to Tuscany. Now I’ve printed it on soft stretch Jersey and sewn it into a short kimono jacket with lime faux suede trim.

A Lily Pond of My Own

Dorothy Fagan fabric designer
Wearing my ‘art on my sleeve, the kimono jacket is created with fabric designed with my painting, “A Lily Pond of My Own!” See more like this in my online trunk show>

Here’s what the painting looks like. Three separate panels create a triptych mural, or each stands alone as a vertical 40″ x 30 oil painting.

So a top can be fashioned from any of the paintings.

ALilyPondofOwn, triptych mural
A Lily Pond of My Own triptych mural, 40″H x 90″L, oil on canvas, See more photos and pricing info>

Something’s Blooming

For example, here’s the top created from the center panel, Something’s Blooming.

Something'sBloomingTOP
Something’s Blooming Top, hand painted rayon or poly crepe de chine, See Pricing>

Hydrangea Heaven

Hydrangea Heaven Top, hand painted rayon or poly crepe de chine,
Hydrangea Heaven Top, hand painted rayon or poly crepe de chine, See purchase details>

Goddess Rising

My granddaughter Fiona was in the studio last week. “Is it a woman or a landscape?” she wanted to know.

I wrote about How I Discovered the Woman in the Mountain , but believe I stopped short of publishing the painting. It really is my favorite.

Goddess Rising Top in hand painted rayon or poly crepe de chine, See purchase info>
Goddess Rising Top in hand painted rayon or poly crepe de chine, See purchase info>

Goddess Rising is me trusting the Creator to take control of my life and painting. It’s what I learned from my Tuscan family, letting the colors seep into everyday life.

I really like her hat, as it feels like my head ~ filled with more ideas than I know what to do with!

And I like that trusting means flexing my faith muscle over and over again, each time I sigh and let go of the notion I need to know anyway.

Peace!

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Who inspires your artistry?  A Garden Party of Colorful Women Inspired Me

Who inspires your artistry?

For me, it’s people who love color. Like beautifully colored moths, we are all drawn to the light.

The invitation to paint at Mary Claire’s garden party was such an attraction. In my mind’s eye I could already see them gathering.

plein air painting in garden
I arrived early to set up my easel and design the painting. When guests began arriving, I had already blocked in the patterns of dark and light.

Arriving about 30 minutes before her guests, members of the Old Ivy Garden Club of Richmond, I set up my easel and staked out a vantage point. I took my wobbly old French easel because I envisioned painting a 24″ x 30″ canvas, too big for my small plein air easel.

Cobalt Blue is the dominant color of Mary Claire’s garden. Flower pots and striped parasols define the space. Cottage garden tables and chairs painted white are covered with comfortable pastel throws. A bright blue tablecloth with lemonade and peach cake laid out the flow of conversation and movement.

FAGANgardenParty
Blocking in the deep Cobalt Blues connected the shadow shapes in the foreground with the blue green backdrop of trees.

I like to tone my canvas with gold ochre undertone in the studio. Rather than spending valuable time covering up white canvas on site, lovely warm earth tones peek through my cobalt blue shadows, immediately adding sparks.

As I added a quick indication of the lights, the first group of guests arrived. I stopped to meet them. Several are painters. All avid gardeners to be sure!

FAGANgardenParty
Finishing up the on-site work, you can see the shadow shapes in the painting are complete.

When I took the painting back to the studio, I found myself imaging Mary Claire’s hydrangeas wrapped around the women. The striped parasols, peach cake and lemonade, I imagined them wearing all of it! But that’s another story.

It took me two weeks to finish the painting. Adding warm lights, I refined the colors and shapes section by section.

FAGANgardenParty
I softened light shadows with pastel colors to open the pathway into the picture.

Warm highlights on on the flowers and leaves popped them foreword, inviting the eye to explore.

FAGANgardenParty
Cool toned Hydrangeas frame the picture at the far left.

A few scrolls lead the eye upward and suggest the casual cottage style of the party.

FAGANgardenParty
Swirling trees embrace the women, suggesting their graceful nature.

Playful interpretation of stripes of the parasols sets them in motion. One angled right, the other left in a dance to and fro. Vibrant Tangerine accents counterplay the Cobalt Blue, bringing the undertones of the canvas to the surface with sparks of light.

FAGANgardenParty
The Garden Party, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″, Prints available>

Oh, and about those fabrics of the hydrangea, parasols and peach cake ~ the article about them will be out soon! Subscribe to receive it in your inbox.

 

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