Tag Archives: art inspired by nature

Winter Sings a Song to Springtime

Michaela Harlow, Winter Sings a Song to Springtime, 2016, 3' x 2', oil and graphite on panel Winter Sings a Song to Springtime, 2016, Oil & Graphite on 3′ x 2′ Wood Panel (click image to enlarge)

Spring is in the air and the light is changing. Migratory birds are everywhere, filling the morning with a cacophony of sweet sound. Sheets of ice melt away beneath the warmth of late winter sun, mirroring a change of season. The time has come for rebirth and renewal

Winter sings a song to springtime. A sweet, sad song; filled with melancholy notes of lonliness and longing. A song of anticipation and surrender. A beautiful goodbye.

Michaela Harlow, Painting Process Two A peek at my process on this time-consuming piece

Painting large-scale, layered oil paintings takes up large blocks of time and space. Finding a span of uninterrupted days can be challenging. However in late winter, with icy/snowy/muddy roads to contend with, it’s a little easier to carve out time in my schedule and hunker down in the studio. But space? Oh space. Working on the floor has many advantages, but walking around is not one of them. I thought I’d give a bit of a peek at my process in this post (images previously posted on Instagram with many related photos of melting ice along the river).

I am very pleased with this piece and expect to continue on this series over the coming weeks.

Michaela Harlow, Painting Process This piece began with sheer layers of orange and grey-violet oil paint. Once dry, graphite drawing began, followed by layers of opaque white oil. Between layers I scrape back to reveal patches of the underpainting and then add more paint and drawing to the top. The process mirrors freeze-thaw, and the passage of time.

Posted in "Ice" painting series, Oil on Panel Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Spring Fed


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Spring Fed, 2015 – 12″ x 12″, Oil on Panel

If you’re a writer, or a musician —well, most any artist, really— it’s no secret that composing small pieces can take far longer than large pieces. Poetry comes to mind immediately. Sometimes I say too much and find I need to go back to the source —scrape away at the extraneous layers— in order to get back to the essence of what I wanted to express.

Heavily layered paintings can be beautiful, but usually I prefer to leave parts that suggest in a whisper.

A small piece can happen quickly or, more often, quite slowly. This painting’s layers were applied over the course of many days, while working on other pieces simultaneously. Later, I scraped things back and added a few gestures.

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Ephemerals l

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Ephemerals I, 2015 – 12″ x 12″, oil on wood panel

I started this piece yesterday and broke with it for a picnic in the park. Yes, I said that. How long has it been since someone surprised me with a picnic of treats and chilled rosé? Thank you so much, Jen. Greatly appreciated during a stressful time.

I then visited my friend Ray Ruseckas’ exhibit at The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. An extraordinary collection of pastels by a talented artist. Ray is an artist’s artist; one devoted to process, exploration and mastery of medium. Glad to see it and looking forward to July and more museum exploration.

I returned to work this morning to find the primary layer of this piece dried & ready for completion. So good to have these low-humidity, long summer days.

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On the studio floor, working the layers

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In a different light, out in the garden

Posted in Ephemerals Series Also tagged , , , , , |

Winter Garden: A Painting’s Progress

winter garden - copyright 2013 michaela harlowWinter Garden ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – Oil on Panel, 24″ x 24″

Winter is a beautiful season, to be certain. Snow, sleet and freezing rain add texture and sparkle to the skeletal landscape and garden surrounding my studio. I love the play of pale light as it bounces off ice and streams through the tawny blades of bleached grass and bare, twisted twigs. And yet for all of its wonder, winter is also a very difficult season here.

Living in New England during the winter months of January, February and March involves an extraordinary amount of work; particularly if you live atop a windy, 2,000′ ridge in the middle of a forest. Since Nemo, aka the blizzard of ’13, hit —bringing with it 18″ of new snow— my days have been consumed by shoveling, plowing, and moving snow banks with the tractor. These are necessary chores, of course, but terribly disrupting to my work; throwing off my rhythm and interrupting my painting’s progress and blog-posting schedule.

But here I am again, at last. It feels good to get back to work on something substantial.

Posted in Oil on Panel, Winter Paintings Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |