as individual as you are

Members: LOG IN

Caroline Henry Art Blog

Topics My Favorite Links

Caroline Henry

Subscribe to this blog
The Pears in a Partridge Tree seen here recently won honorable mention in a juried show. Two other originals of other adventures of the pear ladies sold in an October show. It's odd how inspiration can come in a flash and then not quite go away. The winter pears that so fit the present season were a surprise as has been each of the pear images that have come to me since I first created a beach scene several years ago based simply on the voluptuous shape of some of the pears in my garden and the pear like form that many of us see in ourselves as we age. For more on this series go to http://carolinehenryartblogContinue reading… 0 comments

A purple songbird sings merrily from his perching place on a branch. Loosely defined forest makes the background. Materials are watercolor and marker pen on heavy watercolor paper. This little 3" by 3" (8cm by 8cm)painting would look pretty matted and framed but could also be enjoyed leaning against books in a case. Little jewels of art such as this make it possible for anyone to be an art collector, even those who live in tiny apartments, boats, or travel trailers. I chose to list this today between visits to my mom who is in the last days of her life, because she has always birds, birdsong, and the beauty of flight. Much of my own enjoyment of nature came from my early years when she helped me open my eyes to the joy and beauty around me in the natural world… Continue reading… 0 comments

Like so many of my paintings, this one is garden inspired. There is some influence of artists such as Cezanne and Matisse in the bold green outlining of the bright orange poppies. Bright red-orange iceland poppies dance in the breeze in a green field with touches of yellow. The unframed painting is on 6" by 8" canvas board (or 15 cm by 20.2 cm) I've tried to offer a sense of motion as the light heads of the flowers dance in even a touch of breeze as well as an impression of light dancing off the vibrant life in the poppy field. This is done by the bits of yellow and other colors bouncing through the greenery… 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

A row of white houses with flat black roofs line a cliff. The slopes above them are forested and across a misty distance rise blue topped hills. Left to the viewers imagination is whether they look down upon a valley, the sea, or a lake. The opening for the image is 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches. The frame is 8.5 X 10.5 inches. It was a challenge photographing this one for the internet, because the reflective glass covers the entire frame and I really wanted viewers to see it in the frame which does so much to complement the rooftops and the many shades of green. (See the Small Works gallery in my studio pages.) I like the peacefulness of this scene. I can easily imagine one of those houses as a place for meditation and renewal… Continue reading… 1 comment

I love the idea of joining visual art and literature in a show, so I wanted to enter the Visual Poetry show the minute I saw it on the L.H. Horton Gallery's list for the 2012-2013 year. The show opens on October 4 in Stockton, California, which has a lot more going for it than its bad press would imply, including this marvelous small gallery at San Joaquin Delta College which stages several national open juried shows each year. I had played around with the idea of portraying my summer loves of favorite refreshments and reading matter several years ago and created a less than successful painting effort in watercolor. The idea was reawakened when this theme forced me to think more deeply about connecting art and literature… Continue reading… 0 comments

Black and white iris make a striking contrast where they grow in my garden, so one fine spring day this trio caught my eye and I had one of those "I must paint that" moments. The work went very quickly, or as quickly as it can in watercolor when you reach points where you don't want to work wet into wet; for I was very aware of catching the nuances of color and the shapes before they changed as flowers will. Those "I must paint (or draw)..." moments can happen anytime, anywhere, and they can be an artist's friend and powerful force. It can be the toss of a horse's head, the tilt of a sail in the wind, the green depths of the sea, a rickety old building, a compelling face, an odd arrangement of rusty items in farm's discards--whatever speaks to a particular artist… Continue reading… 0 comments

Inspiration in the "Wild" West

by Caroline , August 21, 2010—10:08 PM

Topics: animals, artist life, inspiration, nature, shows

I brought home lots of art inspiration from my recent vacation, most of it in the form of wild country and wild animals in western Wyoming and northeaster Utah. In the midst of this great open country nestles Jackson Hole, where the small city of Jackson, Wyoming is one of the leading cities for sales of western art to the world__™s collectors. Best of all, it houses the National Museum of Wildlife Art, While most of our national museums are in the great cities of America, the structure and the setting could not be better for presenting wildlife art. The museum, designed by Denver architect Curtis Fentress, fits smoothly into a landscape of rocky cliff formations and sagebrush covered hills backed by magnificent mountains… Continue reading… 0 comments

If you are a gardener, are you drawn to painting what you grow? Almost every floral I paint, almost every still life with vegetables or fruits worked into it, is inspired by time spent in the yard. This simple ink painting on rice paper celebrates the beauty of the artichoke. Lights and darks carry the repeated shapes of the layers of leaves. My artichokes produced their first harvest of the year a few days ago, One on the delights of seasonal growth is that we are reawakened each year to the beauty the reappears. Thus we have an artichoke at perfect ripeness--too beautiful to eat; too delicious not to. The soft tones made possible by ink painting provide a lovely black-and-white rendering of the soft greens of this vegetable… 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

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

Approaching Fog

by Caroline , August 18, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: artists and their work, inspiration, light, mood, sea scape

Muted light begins to fade the afternoon as fog rolls in from the sea, already touching land on and beyond the distant point. Breakers in the foreground still sparkle with sunlit bright white. This 11_14 oil painting is on stretched canvas. I painted this as much to capture a feeling as to depict the actual stretch of coast I saw being nibbled at by the encroaching fog. Fog and sun played tag for a good long while that day before the fog won out. The atmosphere was rich in that scent we say "smells like the ocean" as beads of moisture carry the odors of salt and sea life. I painted later in the studio from my memories… 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

A show title brought about the idea for this piece. The title was "Still Life Dreams" and I started thinking in terms of how a still life might appear in the dream state. At first I thought of having it held by an elephant or turtle--both mythological holders up of the world. But I thought those creatures might end of looking like ceramic pieces that were just part of the still life, and I was not yet thinking in terms of a natural background. Then a bug seemed like a good idea, because the size would be so out of joint. Of all bugs, the grasshopper seems the unlikeliest creature to balance a load--imagine the objects flying when he leaps. The drawing disappeared into the grasses when completed. At that point I decided to add color to the background only… Continue reading… 0 comments

This drawing, like the one called 'Stormy Beach Watch" which I added to one of my galleries yesterday, is a result of one of my habits when away from home. I am by nature and early riser and Tom is not. If we don't having anything early scheduled, I will let him sleep, grab my art bag, and take a walk. Usually involving a stop for coffee along the way, on this day at Java Junction, an aptly named coffee house next to the railway from the beach up to the redwoods. I can always find something worthy of sketching--more than enough so that I will often spot sites for a later visit. The morning light creates lovely value studies. The morning I did this I noticed a perfect low wall for sitting on and viewing the river mouth as I walked down for coffee and knew I would draw it on return… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is just one view from one of my studio windows. You can see why the garden both inspires and distracts me. Butterflies have been abundant on the lilacs. Our cat Hobbes get quite excited about them from a sunny spot on the window seat… Continue reading… 4 comments

Capturing the Mood, Quiet Corner

by Caroline , February 28, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: inspiration, making art, mood, titles, watercolor

Travel is often the inspiration for paintings, and sometimes it is too tempting to focus on the big picture, the claim to fame of the spot we are visiting. However, a small detail can often best capture the mood of a place. The French Quarter of New Orleans rings with jazz music and crowd noises. Yet it also invites one to relax and turn to a slower paced time in history. It has its quiet corners, such as this one. This water color painting depicts a pedestal plant stand with the look of classical statuary. Other pots nearby hold plants with shiny foliage. Red bricks make up the wall behind it and the walkway beside it. I painted it several years ago and have held on to it. It takes me back to an easy mood seated at a cafe where tables are set up in a once upon a time alley way… Continue reading… 0 comments

Painting an Aroma

by Caroline , February 19, 2009—02:02 PM

Topics: Landscape, humor, ink, inspiration, making art, watercolor

This work in progress, which is in ink and watercolor, came about as a result of a challenge my son gave me when I put together my "Lodi Scenes" featured artist show. Dan asked me "Where's General Mills?" While Lodi, California, is best known as a wine community, the General Mills plant has been there for as long as I can remember and is certainly an identifiable landmark. My response, though, was, "What? A big regtangular box with a letter G on it?" One of the positives of having the big G in town is the aroma when they bake the Cheerios, and one December day when I was driving along and suddenly hit by the distinct odor of Cheerios inspiration also hit. The General Mills presence is most notable not in the building, or in the truck and trains that deliver product, but in that scent… Continue reading… 0 comments

Sunflowers, Summer Lightning

by Caroline , February 5, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: color, flowers, inspiration

Sunflowers, white with negative space in black ink, stand out as if lit in an inky night by a bolt of lightning. Contrast and a certain eeriness result from squiggles of red acrylic and splashes of gold. 5" by 7" image in 11" by 14" mat. I wrote about developing this piece from a misadventure in creating an archival reproduction of a conventional floral painting. I quite like the drama of the final result here… Continue reading… 0 comments

The image here is of a Fairy & Flowers ACEO that I put up on my Etsy site this morning ACEO 's, which are offer for sale, and ATC s, which are traded directly among artists, are 3.5" by 2.5" works of art--about which I had not a clue until about a year ago. This one is in watercolor and colored pencil. It began when I decided to recycle a workshop piece I had done several years ago. The workshop focus was on working with color in watercolor, and as a time saver the instructor had us work not only from her composition and reference photos, but also her drawing. I learned some things but could hardly call the finished product my own, so it had languished in the drawer of a flat file… Continue reading… 1 comment

Image of Summer and words of Winter--as I was recently attempting to print a reproduction of my watercolor "Sunflowers" shown here, I failed to change my instruction to the printer from black and white, used with a previous image, to color. The result was a dramatic, somewhat abstract, image (if I had been set for shades of gray I would have made a "black and white" version of the original). I went ahead and changed settings producing a lovely color image that should last at least a hundred years if treated with common sense care. I sent it off to the buyer Saturday. I couldn't throw away that odd accidental piece though. With quality ink and paper it was worth applying acrylic paint, gel medium, and imagination for a mixed media piece I called "Summer Lightning"… Continue reading… 1 comment

I was challenged to do something a little more abstract than my usual when the art group I belong to made Abstraction its January show theme. We allow our members to show work outside the theme, but the themes help us stretch a little. For this painting wet the bottom two thirds of the sheet and then ran a bead of watercolor in a mix of idanthrene blue, Paynes gray, and cobalt, more concentrated toward the front as it moved to the foreground. The same combination with very little water later created my darkest darks. Hand made papers, tissue papers, and iridescent medium helped build the iceberg shapes. The Northern Lights are suggested by streaks of watercolor onto very wet paper.It suggests, rather than portrays… Continue reading… 0 comments

Veteran's Plaza, Lodi CA

by Caroline , November 13, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art events, ink, inspiration, making art

I currently have a show on gallery display called "Lodi Scenes",with a reception coming up Sunday , Nov. 15. Most of the works are local scenes in pen and ink with watercolor wash. Typically these scenes include some human activity, but this one has such a lively combination of line and shadow that it felt complete with just the structures and plants. It was done on a chilly afternoon, as I became increasingly aware as a sat on the cold concrete bench creating the drawing! This drawing of the Veteran's Memorial Plaza in Lodi, California is a continuous line drawing showing the stone work of the memorial, the surrounding park like setting, with city buildings in the distance. A watercolor wash adds color, but the ink lines carry the painting… Continue reading… 0 comments

A basket of green Granny Smith apples, gathered to bake a pie, sits on the counter. The rich Aztec gold shade of the wall provides a good complement to the apple green. I've painted this on the wonderfully toothy pastelbord by Claybord in early Octover. This was a first attempt with this surface, and I discovered that I really love it. I bought some more next time I was in an art store. Most of the painting here was done with side strokes, using edges only for those areas where clear lines needed to be drawn, the crispest of these being the apple stems. The blue of the shadows was also used to create added interest by breaking up the bloks of color in the background surfaces. Near whites highlight the reflections on the apple surfaces… Continue reading… 0 comments

Pear with Apple

by Caroline , September 9, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Still Life, acrylic, color, inspiration, light, making art, shadow

I've been off the blog for a time, and with much reduced art activities as the needs of my extended family made ofr a busy and stressful August. This little still life is one of the few things I completed. I enjoyed working in strong colors and playing with reflected light as well as deep shadow. Certain images, such as pears and calla lilies, have such simplicity and grace of form that they are always a pleasure to paint and often charm viewers. I suppose everyone has their own go-to favorites when they just need to paint something even it life and time are pressing in upon them. Pears are definitely one of mine. I may share another recent pear on a different blog entry, one with a totally different approach… Continue reading… 1 comment

Fire Moon

by Caroline , July 12, 2008—12:47 PM

Topics: inspiration, light, painting, watercolor

I completed a small painting of the "Fire Moon" yesterday, this is the moon that has been hanging over the Great Central Valley of California this week, gradually waxing fuller and always reddened by the smoke in the skies. There have been mornings when a dimmed sun rose an angry red and stayed that way farther above the horizon than ought to be expected, too. Late Thursday evening, on the edge of Friday morning, as the clock moved toward the midnight hour, it was framed by my bedroom window. There's a painting there, I thought, at last inspired by something in this smoke hazed period. I chose watercolor, where its transparency could well represent the layers of haze and various shades could blend into the grays… Continue reading… 0 comments

Pacific Shores

by Caroline , June 12, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: inspiration, making art, mood, perspective, sea scape, watercolor

A comorant watches the surf from a rock near shore, while the eye can just make out a seal on a more distant rock formation. Further out at sea a fishing boat and sailing craft ply the waters. In the far distant a cape of land juts out and a fog bank lies ont the far horizon. Blues, grays, and browns dominate. The image is 11" by 14" and will be shipped matted for a 16" by 20" frame. This is one of those paintings I've had around for a while because I like the way the sea fades from that deep blue into the fog, I like the limited palette, and it reminds me of one of my favorite stretches of coastline… Continue reading… 0 comments

I was in Santa Cruz earlier this week, my daughter__™s new home so doubtless my new most common place on the coast to visit, edging out Fort Bragg/Mendocino and Cambria CA. I woke up early and set out to find a cup of espresso and a fresh baked scone or muffin to accompany me on a walk to the beach. The ever present small sketch book was in the "healthy back" bag slung over my shoulder. I sketched this sitting on a bench above Sea Bright Beach. It was a pleasant spot to watch the day begin, and a big long-haired cat twined around my ankles and curled up on the bench behind me as I drew. The early morning sun made nice highlights on the lighthouse and rocks. The distance was obscured by a marine layer a mile or so off shore. I may use this as a model for a small painting… Continue reading… 2 comments

A bit more on Art Communities

by Caroline , May 15, 2008—06:33 PM

Topics: art organization, inspiration

To finish my thoughts on communities within the art world__"after talking last time about the sort of community art group which is open to all artists and art lovers and exists for benefit of artists and the art needs of the community as a whole. An important and very different association is that of the specialist group__"set apart because of an interest in a single media or a common professional ground. Many of these generally has specific criteria which must be met, and membership entitles the artist to place a set of initials after his or her name. I am affiliated with only one such group, the NLAPW (National League of American Pen Women)… Continue reading… 1 comment

I have created several mixed media paintings which were inspired by something I photographed because of its startling resemblance to something else. Then I let my imagination run wild to build a world in which that altered reality is the correct one. "Sacrifice and Celebration" is the only one of these paintings still in my possession. I haven't gotten into altered photography, but these mixed media/collage works that include bits of photographs have been great fun to do. I took the photograph of the boulders at Bryce Canyon, the kelp "carrot" at the beach, and the butterfly at a park. The rest of the work is done in marker pen, colored pencil and oil pastel. I knew I would need lots of bright color to create a tropical feel… Continue reading… 0 comments

I love to draw. It is so valuable in learning to really see the world around onself. Graphite pencil, this drawing was begun while we were hiking in the redwood forests near Santa Cruz, California. Later workings in my homes studio defined value and added detail. I've made my area of greatest contrast point the viewer deeper into the trail. The distant areas are smudged into a foggy, misty look. This is in part to carry through the reality of coastal forest, but it is also to emphasize the mystery of the trail. There is always discovery around the next turn. This promise of discovery as we go deeper into the trail that is offered is as true for our art as for the world of nature. The surprises are one of the things that keep me on this path… Continue reading… 0 comments

I've been doing a lot of leg work and waiting about for people as part of the preliminaries that will allow my local art group to get into a new gallery/classroom space just in time to take in art from throughout our region for the 48th Lodi Spring Art Annual at Woodbridge Winery. Well, anyway impatience erodes and art heals. I waited impatiently at the finance dept. on the final step of approvals to get our utilities connected Then I began sketching a little boy working with a puzzle to pass the time while his parents resolved their problem at the desk. It was quite fun passing that little sketch on to his mother, and hearing a "that was sweet" from the young lady who then helped me. Similarly, at "Midnight in Indio" art led the way out of moments of misery and got me smiling again… Continue reading… 0 comments


by Caroline , February 19, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: animals, humor, inspiration, painting

This is one of a series of whimsical ink and watercolor elephants that I have painted. I shall continue to paint them from time to time. Several of them have sold, but that is not why I will keep painting them. Somehow in doodling around with the ink and brush, I come up with elephants that are fun and that express who I am. Take this one, for example. Sumie ink and watercolor wash create an elephant startled by...what? It could be anything from a field mouse to a flash of lightning from that storm we see looming in the distance. But I know I go through life getting that same "whoa, there!" startled look on my face. Of course, there are things that are just plain scary or are too appalling to believe… Continue reading… 0 comments

Local Galleries

by Caroline , February 13, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: art, inspiration, organization

Whenever I travel, of course I visit the galleries and museums of art. It is inspiring to see the best of modern and ancient works. However, I also have a special fondness for small local galleries. I love seeing the people who have taken the brave step of opening their own studio/galleries. Often they have recently taken the step of trying to live by their art alone, with an edgy optimism, flying without a net. Others have counted out the number of days they have to work at another job to make sure of the rent, substituting schools, waiting tables, or whatever--and the open sign hangs out the rest of the month… Continue reading… 0 comments