Tag Archives: Modern Landscape Painting

Sun Dance

Michaela Harlow, Sun Dance, 2015, Oil, Graphite and Pencil on Wood Panel Sun Dance, 2015, Oil, Graphite and Pencil on 12″ x 12″ Wood Panel

With the longest night of the year behind us, days are growing longer now —not that anyone would notice. Still, there’s something hopeful about turning the corner in this dark season. Up at 5:30 a.m., I grope around in the dark until sunrise, frustrated by 8:30 or 9 a.m. starts in my studio. I long for springtime daylight.

I began this piece five or six days ago, but stopped with the orange-tinted underpainting and loosely sketched composition. As luck would have it, snow-squalls obscured the morning sunrise and gave me an idea for this second layer.

After finishing this piece, I spent the late afternoon clearing brambles and brush along the edge of my meadow. It felt good to be outside in the cold air and brilliant, late-day sunshine.

There’s a storm blowing in tonight: snow, sleet and freezing rain. I’m afraid that tomorrow will be dark again.

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

Thirty-in-Thirty, Day Eighteen: January Sun

January Sun ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow - 16 x 16, Pastel on PaperJanuary Sun ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″, Pastel on Paper

This morning’s wake up call came from my cat when she leapt from the bed toward the wall of northwest windows. It was well before sunrise, but bright enough to reveal what caught her attention. Just beyond the garden, a fox hid, crouched behind the bare branches of viburnum. Before I could react, the fox swiftly attacked its prey and in a moment it was over. Then, in a streaky red-orange blur, the skillful hunter carried its catch to the open slope. What did it take? In the half light, a long, fluffy tail dangled from the fox’s jaws. It was a gray squirrel. At the moment I recognized this, another flash of movement caught my eye. To the left, a large hawk —perhaps hunting the same prey— retreated to the cover of a tall pine.

If you know me, you know well that I am a friend of the squirrel. Having rescued, raised and released an orphaned kit in 2011, the red squirrel in particular is quite close to my heart. But if you’ve known me a long time, and very well, you know of my deep connection to the fox and its cousin coyote. I respect the ways of nature. To see predator and prey in action —admiring the beauty and strength of each species— was very powerful. The fox prevailed —swift and efficient— taking what she needed to survive and nothing more. After her success, the cat-like canine rolled playfully in the snow, soaking up the first rays of early morning sun.

January Sun Specks ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow - 16 x 16, Pastel on PaperJanuary Sun ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″, Pastel on Paper

My friend M sent me a special gift from Albuquerque last month. The creation of New Mexico artist Lauren Tobey, a squirrel vertebra cast in silver now hangs round my wrist, suspended by thin strips of leather. M tells me that the skeleton was found in a garden —bleached white in complete perfection— and given to the artist for her work. I feel the squirrel’s spirit today as I remember events from the morning.

Posted in Process, Seeing, Studio Life, Thirty-in-Thirty 2013, Work on Paper Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Thirty-in-Thirty: Day Fourteen . . .

blue mountain ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

Blue Mountain, 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″ Pastel on Paper

This morning, I took a little trip into the Twilight Zone known as my storage room, looking for a few older pieces at the request of a dear friend and collector. I don’t spend a great deal of time looking through my archive, and boy is it ever in need of organization. The experience was so frustrating that I have vowed to change my ways. Most of the work in deep storage is poorly labeled and quite disorganized. Shame. Shame. Shame.

I often joke that all I really want in life is Batman’s faithful assistant, Alfred. I just watched the latest in the series and discovered that the two did part ways in “The Dark Night Rises”. So maybe Alfred is available? Oh how I wish. At the start of winter, I made a resolution to get better about cataloging and organizing my artwork. Alfred would be a great help with this project!

blue mountains ⓒ 2013 michaela harlowBlue Mountain, 2013 Michaela Harlow – 16″ x 16″ Pastel on Paper

In meantime, I happen to notice that Mt. Grace is looking rather blue in the distance today; rusty orange beech leaves, hanging on in the foreground make her seem even more so. I haven’t been allowing myself many landscapes lately, but this week I seem to be having a change of heart.

Posted in Studio Life, Thirty-in-Thirty 2013, Work on Paper Also tagged , , , , , , |

Thirty in Thirty, Day Three: Far Away Blues …

Far Away Blues

14″ x 17″ – Pastel and Pencil on Paper

Posted in "Thirty in Thirty" 2012, Uncategorized Also tagged , , |