Tag Archives: original paintings

The Deserted Cottages, Recalling a Long-ago Image, and a Friend

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Original pastel painting, 17″ x 8.5″, 1999

Three years ago this month I posted the original of this painting of deserted cottages along Lake Erie for sale here and in my Etsy shop, including the story below connecting it to an old cardboard painting in my mother’s house found when I was selling it that had been an unwitting inspiration for my work today, along with memories of my mother.

A friend I hadn’t seen since middle school read the story, knew the place where the cottages had been and contacted me. We met and reunited our friendship after 35 years, and she bought the painting because she and her family had spent summers at that place while she was growing up. She had so many precious memories from all those years and the painting brought it all back to her. It also made a nice new bond between us and we regularly communicated after that, hoping to meet for a little vacation at a spot near this place she now visited over summers with her family, but also sharing our love of cats and crochet.

Unfortunately, she unexpectedly died this past summer. I’ve been remembering her daily since then and wondering how she could slip away so soon and unexpectedly, and it always brings me back to this painting. I’m so glad she had it with her for her last three years. She had a part of me with this painting, and I had a part of her with the memory each time I saw it in my portfolio, or as one of the prints I have on hand. I didn’t make it up to Lake Erie to spend time with her, but I will be sure to get to this area and remember her.

And here is the original story I published then, full of emotional connections as well. My mother had died earlier that year, 2011, and I was also renewing my bond with my art which I had let fall aside while I cared for her in her increasing illness over a decade.

. . . . . . .

Anything can become a learning opportunity and an inspiration, even a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame. It worked for me.

I painted “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. I quickly blocked in the buildings with just a few simple shapes and colors and their traceries of shadows, then the trees and grass, trying to catch the fluttering effect of the leaves in the wind allowing chunks of sky to show through, the tree trunks simplified and in high light-dark contrast, the blank expression of the boarded windows. I was pleased with the outcome, yet something was strangely familiar.

J.E. Warfield Painting

J.E. Warfield Painting

Six years later I put my mother’s house up for sale as she had moved to personal care, and took down her collection of cardboard art in plastic frames that I’d studied in depth growing up. It may not have been expensive, but there was a lot of it, in every room, including the basement. I particularly remembered the one long narrow painting with the signature J.E. Warfield because I liked the way the trees were leafy, not solid, and opened to the sky, the shadows traced across the ground and the buildings were very simple; after studying it as a child I felt that I could do that. Later, it hung on a paneling wall in the basement just inside the door from the garage where I entered for years, so I saw it every time I went into the house. Again, something was familiar.

I looked at “Deserted Cottages”, and looked at my cardboard Warfield. The tree trunks, the leaves, the simple buildings, the shadows—there it was! I could clearly see what I’d been aiming for as I’d painted six years before—this painting I’d been studying practically all my life.

detail of painting

Detail of the houses in the Warfield painting.

detail of painting

Detail of houses in my painting.

So it was a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame—never underestimate the power of any image to inspire and teach! And I haven’t found out a darned thing about J.E. Warfield, but apparently this painting was a popular one judging by all the ones I’ve seen being sold as “vintage”.

Nothing is ever wasted for a creative person. I’ve learned to never dismiss something that impresses me for some reason, be it the cover of a bodice-ripper romance or a velvet painting or a doodle on a notebook, it goes “in there” somewhere and comes out somewhere else as a way I learned to work with color or shape or medium or just something that caught my eye and would catch others’ as well.

detail of painting

Detail of Warfield trees.

detail of painting

Detail of my trees.

Where to find this art

The art is 17″ x 8.5″, and when I originally posted this the original was hanging right above my desk, as it always had since I’d painted it.

While the original sold as mentioned above,  I have made a series of prints on paper and canvas which are available in my Etsy shop.

See other autumn art and landscapes

Click here to see an archive of autumn art and also landscape paintings.

And there are many more images to browse! Visit my Etsy shop to see what’s available in my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery.

I also have an e-newsletter for non-animal art like my landscapes and photography, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

. . . . . . .

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

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My Autumn Gallery

painting of birch trees with autumn leaves

Birches 2: Radiance, ink and watercolor, 2002, © B. E. Kazmarski

As the Harvest Moon has passed and October approaches, I’m sensing signs of autumn everywhere, in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn garb, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some days, and cooler days and nights.

Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork; I’ll feature just a few here in this post, but you can read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some are painted en plein air, but some are studio pieces, like the birch trees above.

And I can offer an infinite number of things on Etsy, but sometimes it’s easier to let you choose what you want. Please scroll to the end for details.

Birches 1 and 2

painting of birch trees with autumn leavs

Birches 1: Autumn Showers, oil pastel, 1999 © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I met the paper birch in our front yard I have always been attracted to the delicately detailed white bark of birch trees which seemed to emit its own faint light in any season. Here, in the darkness of the woods, the grouping of white trunks looks like a crowd clustered for discussion, decorated by a maple branch in Birches 1: Autumn Showers.

The technique was an experiment borne of an off-hand remark from a fellow artist. I had just been experimenting with oil pastels, which at first felt like slippery crayons but soon grew to have their own life as I understood the best ways to achieve the colors and textures I wanted. The artist friend mentioned that you could also work with them using turpentine, either softening the crayons in it or drawing on the paper, then painting turpentine over the oil pastel to blend or spread. I chose to use a combination of these as well as wetting the paper with the turpentine and drawing on that area with the oil pastel. The resulting painting actually looks dimensional, and I know it’s only because of the different textures in the work.

Birches 2, detail

Here’s a detail of Birches 2: Radiance.

We have lovely birch groves here in Western Pennsylvania, and this image was reminiscent of one I had encountered while hiking somewhere near me. Not just the white bark, but the contrast with the thin dark twigs and ripples in the bark, is eye-catching, but that autumn display of yellow leaves is nearly blinding. Add a few other leaves to the mix and it becomes a classic autumn scene.

This painting is a real favorite in any color or size; I think others react to the details and the colors as I did when I saw the scene and visualized the painting.

The original is quite large, 22″ x 23″, and drawn in a very fine line black ink. I used a technical pen (a Rapidograph, if anyone remembers those) to draw all the details of the birch trees, taking nearly three weeks just to draw the trees. Even though I’d been visualizing it with the color added for the leaves, after all that work I was hesitant to start painting into the drawing for fear I’d mess it up and ruin all that work. But I got over that and began filling in the leaves in all shades of yellow.

Other subjects too

I’ll review other individual paintings as well, including their meaning to me at the time I painted them since, for some reason, most of my autumn paintings have a story having something to do with family, or my career, and even my cats.

painting of autumn street scene

View from Beechwood

View from Beechwood

This was another entry into Carnegie Painted, even though I’d done the painting years before, just out of college, long before I’d decided to devote my career to art. I had given it to my mother as a gift, and when she moved from her home to assisted living the painting moved with her until she had no wall space for it.

When I took it back I decided to enter it in the show and make prints of it. I marvel that I created this when I did, 1983, and I know how much my mother enjoyed it.

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Deserted Cottages

I painted this painting “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. After years of enjoying this painting I posted the story and reconnected with a friend from high school; I’ll write about this some time soon, but I sold the original, and have prints.

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

It was one of those moments that completely overtakes me–the extraordinary in the ordinary. I had gathered these wildflowers on the way home from work during one of those too-brief, clear September evenings, warm, but with a creeping chill in the shadows. Goldenrod and fall asters are just about my favorites, so I brought some home and placed them in the vase on the table on my deck. You can read more about the time of this painting in The Artist’s Life: The Splendor of Autumn on The Creative Cat. I still have the original and can also make prints.

Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon. I sold the original painting, but have many varieties of prints available.

Squashes, oil pastel

Squashes

This is the piece my customer commissioned to coordinate with “Green Apples“, also in this gallery. We discussed several subjects, but as the summer waned and she mentioned golds and earth tones, I knew it had to be squashes.

Ordering Custom Artwork

I have several originals still available, but I also have prints of each of them, framed and unframed, in all sizes from 8″ x  10″ to the full size of the painting, whatever that may be, and in grades from high quality digital to high quality giclee. I’d love to see any of these as canvas prints, which I make individually per order because these are not standard sizes and I need to purchase custom materials but my test prints have been extraordinary, especially with this autumn gallery.

I can offer an infinite number of things on Etsy, but sometimes it’s easier to let you choose what you want. Please read my page for Ordering Custom Artwork on The Creative Cat to see the possibilities you can choose from, and don’t hesitate to ask questions!


The Deserted Cottages, Recalling a Long-ago Image

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Original pastel painting, 17″ x 8.5″, 1999

Anything can become a learning opportunity and an inspiration, even a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame. It worked for me.

I painted “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. I quickly blocked in the buildings with just a few simple shapes and colors and their traceries of shadows, then the trees and grass, trying to catch the fluttering effect of the leaves in the wind allowing chunks of sky to show through, the tree trunks simplified and in high light-dark contrast, the blank expression of the boarded windows. I was pleased with the outcome, yet something was strangely familiar.

J.E. Warfield Painting

J.E. Warfield Painting

Six years later I put my mother’s house up for sale as she had moved to personal care, and took down her collection of cardboard art in plastic frames that I’d studied in depth growing up. It may not have been expensive, but there was a lot of it, in every room, including the basement. I particularly remembered the one long narrow painting with the signature J.E. Warfield because I liked the way the trees were leafy, not solid, and opened to the sky, the shadows traced across the ground and the buildings were very simple; after studying it as a child I felt that I could do that. Again, something was familiar.

I looked at “Deserted Cottages”, and looked at my cardboard Warfield. The tree trunks, the leaves, the simple buildings, the shadows—there it was! I could clearly see what I’d been aiming for as I’d painted six years before—this painting I’d been studying all my life practically.

detail of painting

Detail of the houses in the Warfield painting.

detail of painting

Detail of houses in my painting.

So it was a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame—never underestimate the power of any image to inspire and teach! And I haven’t found out a darned thing about J.E. Warfield, but apparently this painting was a popular one judging by all the ones I’ve seen being sold as “vintage”.

Nothing is ever wasted for a creative person. I’ve learned to never dismiss something that impresses me for some reason, be it the cover of a bodice-ripper romance or a velvet painting or a doodle on a notebook, it goes “in there” somewhere and comes out somewhere else as a way I learned to work with color or shape or medium or just something that caught my eye and would catch others’ as well.

detail of painting

Detail of Warfield trees.

detail of painting

Detail of my trees.

The art is 17″ x 8.5″, triple-matted with a quarter-inch deep slate blue, eighth-inch deep rust, and 2-5/8″ natural white textured parchment finish top mat, weathered walnut frame with blue wash, and it’s hanging right here above my desk as well as available in my Etsy shop.

framed painting

Deserted Cottages, framed (sorry for the poor photo, it was just impossible).


My Autumn Gallery

painting of birch trees with autumn leaves

Birches 2: Radiance, ink and watercolor, 2002, © B. E. Kazmarski

As the Harvest Moon has passed and the Autumnal Equinox approaches, I’m sensing signs of autumn everywhere, in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn garb, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some day, and cooler days and nights.

Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork; I’ll feature just a few here in this post, but you can read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some are painted en plein air, but some are studio pieces, like the birch trees above.

Birches 1 and 2

painting of birch trees with autumn leavs

Birches 1: Autumn Showers, oil pastel, 1999 © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I met the paper birch in our front yard I have always been attracted to the delicately detailed white bark of birch trees which seemed to emit its own faint light in any season. Here, in the darkness of the woods, the grouping of white trunks looks like a crowd clustered for discussion, decorated by a maple branch in Birches 1: Autumn Showers.

The technique was an experiment borne of an off-hand remark from a fellow artist. I had just been experimenting with oil pastels, which at first felt like slippery crayons but soon grew to have their own life as I understood the best ways to achieve the colors and textures I wanted. The artist friend mentioned that you could also work with them using turpentine, either softening the crayons in it or drawing on the paper, then painting turpentine over the oil pastel to blend or spread. I chose to use a combination of these as well as wetting the paper with the turpentine and drawing on that area with the oil pastel. The resulting painting actually looks dimensional, and I know it’s only because of the different textures in the work.

Birches 2, detail

Here’s a detail of Birches 2: Radiance.

We have lovely birch groves here in Western Pennsylvania, and this image was reminiscent of one I had encountered while hiking somewhere near me. Not just the white bark, but the contrast with the thin dark twigs and ripples in the bark, is eye-catching, but that autumn display of yellow leaves is nearly blinding. Add a few other leaves to the mix and it becomes a classic autumn scene.

This painting is a real favorite in any color or size; I think others react to the details and the colors as I did when I saw the scene and visualized the painting.

The original is quite large, 22″ x 23″, and drawn in a very fine line black ink. I used a technical pen (a Rapidograph, if anyone remembers those) to draw all the details of the birch trees, taking nearly three weeks just to draw the trees. Even though I’d been visualizing it with the color added for the leaves, after all that work I was hesitant to start painting into the drawing for fear I’d mess it up and ruin all that work. But I got over that and began filling in the leaves in all shades of yellow.

Other subjects too

painting of autumn street scene

View from Beechwood

I’ll review other individual paintings as well, including their meaning to me at the time I painted them since, for some reason, most of my autumn paintings have a story having something to do with family, or my career, and even my cats.

I do have most of those stories posted along with the images on Etsy.

I have several originals still available, but I also have prints of each of them, framed and unframed, in all sizes from 8″ x  10″ to the full size of the painting, whatever that may be, and in grades from high quality digital to high quality giclee.

painting of cottages

Deserted Cottages

Autumn Harvest

Autumn in the Valley

Squashes


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