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Caroline Henry

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An egret makes its way among waterside rushes as it seeks out a meal. the range of blue tones from teal to purple complement the yellow tones of the rushes, while the white egret is the center of attention. The egret is in the sun, while light is absorbed in the shadowing dense reeds behind him. In the photo I painted from, the shadowed areas were dull grays and browns. I wanted to bring in cooler and more vivid colors to bring up the white of the bird (which actually includes blues) and to emphasize the cool appearance of these birds, even when they are in full sun on a hot day. The bird was intent on watching the water, moving into the reed… Continue reading… 0 comments

An inviting nook of New Orlean's French Quarter featured old bricks, statuary, and potted plants. I remember this border to an outdoor eating area in what once must have been an alley in the old city. It brings to mind jambalaya with fat shrimp and the pervading sound of jazz music. This piece will be shipped without frame or mat. If you would like to discuss a price for the same work, but matted and framed, please contact me. I think the strengths of this painting include 1) the contrast of the geometric manufactured shapes and the natural forms of the organic matter, and 2) the complimentary reds and greens, and 3) a nice balance of verticals, horizontals, and the slant of the composition… Continue reading… 0 comments

I loved creating this art piece. Pears have such a lovely shape, and the paper itself provided inspiration. A luscious golden pear is painted on paper imbedded with foliage and petals. A smaller red pear floats in the upper left. It takes a close look to sort out the watercolor an marker work from with plant matter. The colors within the vegetation provided a palette for the painting. More texture comes from the stitchery on the backing piece, the linen threads of the first mat, and the suede finish on the 8" by 10" mat. A deeper hue of the same color group made a fine frame that kept the layering going. The floating pear and the off centered large pear give liveliness to art which has an overall feeling of warmth and calmness… Continue reading… 0 comments

Deep distances layer themselves into coastal grasses, meandering estuary waters, stretches of sandbar, and an ocean that stretches into a misty horizon. Greens, blues, and a blush of pink are the dominant colors. Watercolor and ink were used to portray this coastal landscape. I sketched in the original colors of this work plein air at Point Reyes National Seashore, but completed it in studio. I enjoy playing with a mix of watercolor and ink. The way I use it varies. Sometimes I created an ink drawing and add the watercolor later. Sometimes colors only suggest a scene, and forms develop in detail via the ink. In this particular painting, I created the watercolor painting, and only decided some time later that it would be enhanced by the ink treatment… Continue reading… 0 comments

Every work of art has to have its beginnings. First there is the idea. Then the idea becomes concrete as we choose our media and mark a surface. Those beginnings are critical. They may be bold or hesitant. Some of that is personality, but there are works that I tiptoe into and others where I just start pouring paint and see what happens. I don't think there is a single best way to begin, but there are many good ways: 1. A certain amount of organization helps make for good beginnings. Some time spent making you have a clear surface and the necessary materials at hand avoids distraction & frustration. 2. Thumb nail sketches are a must for some artists. Advantages are solving many problems ahead of time… Continue reading… 0 comments

A lighthouse on dunes where a river meets the sea is surrounded by breaking fog and by dune grasses. The piece evokes a feeling of the shore without a bit of water in sight. I have painted this lighthouse before in watercolor, but I decided to try it in scratch board, a medium which emphasizes the importance of line. The architectural lines of the lighthouse contrast with the random sway of the beach grasses. There was some risk in placing the strong verticals of the light tower and the pathway so nearly at the center of the composition, but I think it works. The broken vertical moving from the light tower to the pathway and the interesting window to the right of the lighthouse door help create harmonious movement. The color palette is very limited… Continue reading… 0 comments

Watercolor Goat in Pasture

by Caroline , April 8, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: Landscape, animals, composition, nature, painting

A goat in the foreground looks directly out of the picture plane to the viewer. Further into the field a cluster of three go about their goat business. The greens of spring color the field along with a scattering of wildflowers. I find it interesting that animals will give you that arresting stare and judge whether you are a danger. If they mistrust, they are out of there. If you seem okay, the stare may continue as if in pure curiosity. This goat looked up as I parked the car along the roadside, watched as I took the photo, and didn't lost interest until I was ready to go. In that instance, we both had about the same attention span! The setting had enough bucolic, spring time peace and beauty to have set a romantic poet, such as Wordsworth or Keats, to creating a new ode… Continue reading… 1 comment

A collection of wedding scenes are painted in watercolor, a background of pink ribbon and scattered leaves on a purple background unites the moments. The largest vignette a traditional bride and groom pose; others include a view of the entire wedding party, cutting the cake, a detail of the back of the brides necklace, and the band. Others portray details of the setting. This painting is not for sale, but I am available for commissions. This was a complex work. Any part of it could have been a painting in itself. The first dance at the reception also makes a lovely painting. A couple might cherish a painting of the church in which they were married, especially if it was the home church of both… Continue reading… 0 comments

Original pastel shows three tangerines next to a celadon vase with an abstract water lily leaf pattern in blue. A blue silk cloth lies under these objects and a peach colored wall is seen behind them. This small pastel is on 5" _ 7" Ampersand pastel board, and will be shipped in its 8" _ 10" frame. I love working with the toothy Ampersand pastel board. It hangs on to the pastels extremely well. Notice the repeated shapes and colors accompanied by eye pleasing variation. The purple shadows and the fruit break the blue into a larger and a smaller segment, and the vase breaks the larger segment for three blue shapes. The three rounds of fruit are each smaller and paler moving back on the picture plane… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is a detail of my latest addition to my ArtId gallery and most definitely and 'Artist at Play" product. I had created an ACEO by developing some odd bits of color already existing on a small sheet of paper cut from a failed painting The ACEO was in a vertical format and showed a little sheep in a shed and some foliage in the background. I liked it a lot and decided to build a larger painting from the basic set of forms and colors. However, in the larger size a horizontal composition felt right. For this larger version, I also decided on acrylics rather then the watercolor and pen & ink used for the ACEO. Original acrylic painting features a black sheep in a field of dry yellow grass… Continue reading… 1 comment

Revisiting the Sketchbook

by Caroline , November 6, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: Drawing, Landscape, Sketchbook, composition, plein air

I made this sketch on a recent trip to Felton, California, a small town among the redwood forests in the coastal mountains south of San Francisco. The bridge is reputed to the the tallest covered wooden bridge in the world, and I drew it straight on to emphasize the height. It was a brisk fall morning, with a wind sufficient to damage and shut down San Francisco's Bay Bridge, some miles to the north, but simply chilly in Felton. I worked fairly quickly because I did not want to be out in that location too long. Under pleasanter weather conditions, I painted a plien air acrylic version of the bridge in two morning sessions last year. That is listed on my Etsy site http://www.etsy.com/view_listingContinue reading… 0 comments

Complementary Colors --Juicy Red Tomatoes

by Caroline , September 22, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: acrylic, color, composition

Three red ripe tomatoes sit on a green surface in front of a wall with ochre yellow and red tones. Shadows and highlights add strength to the simple and effective composition. You can almost taste the plump, garden fresh tomatoes. The red and green complements go far in building interest. Actually nature starts the tomato on the plant with that pleasing companionship of color. It seemed appropriate to carry it through to the finished painting. My life seems tomato filled of late and the abundant vines provide material for salads, snacks, vegetable medleys, dried tomatoes for future use, jars of thick puree for winter soups and sauces, the ketchup simmering on the stove at this moment--and fantastic painting models… Continue reading… 0 comments

Simple Beauty "Snow, sea, sky"

by Caroline , September 11, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: Landscape, color, composition, mood, sea scape, value

Small acrylic painting has a snow covered hill in the foreground. In the moonlight it has tints of blue and has white highlights, beyond that is the sea painted in the cold blue of ice, the blue white moon rides in a deep blue sky. The lines a simple, the palate limited, and the composition compelling. I love detail and complexities, but sometimes simple is absolutely best. I wanted to create a painting that was restful without being static. I aimed for a crackling sense of immediacy in the cold of a clear winter night. Much is left to the viewer's imagination. The only colors I used were titanium white and ultramarine blue. Limiting the palette really forces the artist to concentrate on building value--those essential contrasts of light and dark… Continue reading… 0 comments

The Pumpkin Patch at Honey Lake was filled with bright, beautiful pumpkins casting deep shadows. I wanted to show these three pumpkins as the stars of the piece, but I also wanted to show the field in which they grew without diluting the power of the close-up pumpkins. The resulting composition was something of a tromp l'oeil piece as if the main image were on a separate sheet floated on the larger landscape. I chose sepia rather than black pens as part of a desire to make the background painting recede and move the smaller detail painting forward. Honey Lake is formed in a large shallow basin in the Eastern Sierra along the route from Reno, Nevada to Susanville, California. During mid to late summer the lake bed may be entirely dry… Continue reading… 1 comment

Two boys play in a pool among oversized boulders at Zion National Park in Utah USA. The watercolor painting depicts both the rugged majesty of America's southwestern region and the charm of children at play anywhere. This painting started as a plein aire watercolor sketch. The original composition covered a larger area, getting into the scrub brush and canyon wall behind this scene and including a boy climbing on the large rock behind the wading, dancing boy. In the end it seemed better to focus on the more intimate scene. The story becomes one of childhood living in the joy of the moment, for the time being unimpressed by the grandeur around them and sending laughter rippling against the mighty walls of Zion… Continue reading… 0 comments

A yellow iris glows with color in a garden setting. The surrounding lush foliage is suggested by the cool greens and touches of orange in the background. Every spring my eyes and heart are captured by the irises growing in the backyard. They are all the more beautiful in that the back of the lot may still have a raggedy look from our winters that spout forth a growth of weeds while remaining cold enough to discourage long spells of clean up work. While I love the brightness and the crinkly folds in the edges of this flower, I find the background especially intriguing both to paint and to see as a compliment to the flower. One of my friends refers to paintings such as this as portraits of flowers because they focus in on a single flower as a portrait artist will upon a face… Continue reading… 0 comments

The rooftop of the lighthouse keeper's residence and the top of the lighthouse stand out in red watercolor in this graphite drawing of the old lighthouse at Point Reyes. This drawing was a long time from start to finish. A number of years ago, I lightly penciled in the lighthouse as seen from a turning in the 200 or so steps leading down to it from the cliffs above. . The lighthouse sits low, and it is a squat structure. It was actually built to send a warning signal out from below the layer of fog that so often lingers at about cliff level in the Point Reyes area, a peninsula just north of San Francisco… Continue reading… 0 comments

"Heavenly Path" took a long time to paint. It started as spill of dark blue paint with bits of watery reds and yellows dropped in on watercolor paper. After a great deal of thought, it seemed to me that the central area should be a window into another world, a glimpse though to an enchanted place. At this point the pines came into being, the pinks and yellow were given more definite shapes as blossoming shru. I also Intensified the red in the deep blue at the top, and let the geeen emerge above. scatterings of blue long the bottom were stretched to form a path, still in a blue gray. i lifted some blue in various parts of the painting to give greater light to the world. Still it wasn't finished. It waited… Continue reading… 0 comments

Watercolor painting of a city scene has an old town feel to it. Patrons of a sidewalk cafe add extra interest. The image is 7" by 10" and is presented in a white mat measuring 11" by 14" Usually I paint plein air, from photographs, or from a still life set-up. This painting is just from a general memory of street scenes in any number of old town sections of various communities. I painted it during the time of was staying with my mom while my step-dad was in an out of town hospital for a difficult surgery (he's fine now). I was fooling around with different composition types, and painted a blue cross on an empty sheet of paper, and then thought about what to do with the cruciform composition… Continue reading… 1 comment

I wish I had taken a before photo of this still life. I painted with a group last Tuesday. We were working from a still life set up which included a lemon, a rose, and a cluster of rose leaves against black velvet and white linen. Most of them worked on a vertical plane, but I decided to do a horizontal composition. I did not want to center the two major items in the still life, but in my effort to get them off-center, I wound up with the center of my white rose creating a bull's eye effect at the middle of the painting. The area to the right of it was only draperies. I liked the form of the rose, and I liked the lemon with its rich yellows, its greenish low-lights and the bright white highlight… Continue reading… 2 comments