Friday, March 16, 2018

A parrot and a kingfisher

While the snow was falling steadily and everything outside turned white I felt the need for something colorful, so I painted this parrot. As I was going through my unorganized mess of digital pictures, I found one I took at the Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls years ago. 

I had to look up this bird's name. This is a Rainbow Lorikeet, and is native to Australia. In the picture he was hanging on the cage bars, but I gave him a nicer perch.
This next bird is from a picture by Dutch photographer Andre Jacobs. It is a Common Kingfisher, who lives in Eurasia and Northern Africa. My parents sometimes would see one near their pond looking for its next meal. Always beautiful to see, and at least he could only take the small fish.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A heron, a stork, and a cardinal

These little birds are taking a lot more time than expected. It is very different from the cloud paintings from last year. A cloud can be any shape, but a bird needs to be fairly accurate. So that means adding details with small brushes. I feel like I'm doing a lot of nit-picking. It probably is also because I'm working from pictures where you tend to try to add every little detail. With most of these painting I've started on one day, and finished the next day. 

This heron is from a picture I made while in Florida, but it really could be anywhere. It could be the one fishing in my parent's pond. Even a net over the pond was not much of a deterrent to keep him from taking the fish!

I made the picture of the stork while visiting a flower park in the Netherlands. Storks were almost extinct in the Netherlands, but thanks to preservation efforts they have now made a comeback. They nest on chimneys and structures people put up, and fly back to Africa for the winter. I found a webcam of a stork nest in the Netherlands. Fun to peek at!

In the picture the stork was standing in the grass; I put him on a nest.

This little Mrs Cardinal is from Petra Glorie's picture. I did not change much from the picture in this one. It just seemed the perfect composition the way she is looking at you.
Male cardinals are such a bright speck of color, specially when you see them in the snow, but the ladies are pretty too. That's what this one is saying... "hey, look at me." Or maybe it's "what are you looking at?" She has attitude.
I enjoyed watching a cardinal couple nest in the tree in front of our house last year. Their nest did not look all that well build. They raised two babies in it. I had never before seen how the adults exchange food: the male came flying to the nest, gave the food to the female and she then fed the babies. Fun to see and learning something about their habits!

Friday, March 2, 2018

The beginning of 50 paintings!

Here we go again! I will be painting 50 small paintings for the Summer Mosaic Show at Cedar Arts in Corning. I picked up the 50 panels and sealed them (twice), and gessoed them (three times). That took a while, but it is also a good activity to just zone out and think about what I will be painting on them.

The theme I chose is birds. I have not painted many birds before, but thought this would be a nice subject to do. Birds don't sit still very long, so I will have to use photographs. I have dug through my own collection of pictures, and I have asked a couple of other people for permission to use their photos. I usually try not to use pictures for my paintings, so this will be different. In using the bird pictures I plan on giving them my own twist in the painting, and not copy anything literally.

I figured that if I paint 4 per week it will take 3 months to finish. That's a bit too long for me, so I'll try to do as many as I can while the weather is still cold and we're indoors a lot. In the past two weeks I've done six, but I'm a little late to start blogging about them. This blog post is a bit long. From now on I'll try to keep up with the blog as I finish each piece.

This one was the first one to get finished. I used a picture of Dutch photographer Andre Jacobs. In Dutch this bird is called a "roodborstje," translated as a red breast. I had to look up what these are called in English. It turns out it is a European Robin. I never knew! They are much smaller than their American cousins, and look more like a little chickadee than a robin, except for the orange chest. 
I found painting this little guy a challenge: how do make brown look interesting? At first I was trying to copy all the feather nuances, then in the end I just "fluffed" him up by taking a hard brush to blur the lines. 

The next one finished was the swan, which I actually started before the robin. I did a thin layer of paint for the beak and pasted thick white paint down for the swan's neck. I let that thicken up over a few days, and then I worked the color in. When everything was dry I glazed a bit more paint over it. The picture used was also from Andre Jacobs; I turned the swan the other direction and zoomed in.

 Next, more robins from pictures I made years ago. We have a couple of big evergreens in front of our house. On one hand I would like to see them gone for the mess they make, but on the other hand the birds love these trees and I love watching the birds visit there. Every year a bird nests in them, and that year it was robins. I peeked in their nest every day to follow the progress of the family. It reminded me of my childhood, when one of my favorite things to do was climb trees looking for bird nests. One year I kept a record of a nesting bird, observing and writing down daily what they were doing.
I have painted these robin babies before. In the picture mommy bird sits next to them, but I left her out of this one. There is actually a 4th bird behind the three birds. Amazing how they still fit in the nest. They look very hungy! I did multiple glazes on parts of the picture. I like how that makes makes the oranges glow.

I have about 10 birdhouses hanging around the yard, and it is so much fun to see the birds checking them out. After they decide on where to raise their family I get to watch them fly back and forth, first with twigs, later with food for the babies. The picture for the next painting was a lucky shot. I just have a point and click camera, and happened to click at the right time. I wanted to show movement in this painting, and found this very tricky. I went back to tweak it several times.

The reference photo; without zooming in it is hard to see the bird;

The bluebirds are from photos by Dutch photographer Petra Glorie. Her website and photos I used can be found here. 
Eastern bluebirds are New York's state bird, but I hardly ever see them in our yard. They must not like it here. I once saw several up the street where a neighbor had nesting boxes in a field, so there are some in the area.
For this painting I combined two of Petra's pictures. I liked how the birds were sitting together in the picture, but I wanted to show more than just the male's back, so I used the other picture of the male that shows more of a profile. This one was another big challenge and took the longest yet! By the way, I think it was very thoughtful of Petra to hang the nesting box right above a branch. It is like having a front porch for them.

Today is a snow storm, so while being indoors for most of the day and nowhere to go I thought I might as well do another painting. This is from a picture I made in my hometown which is next to a river. It could have been anywhere of course, since these ducks are everywhere. It's just fun to think that this is a Dutch little ducky. The water was what gave me a hard time. I never did ripples like this, and it was a bit of trial and error to get it right. I think it came out ok. Maybe I have to tone that yellow down a bit, only rubber ducks are that bright, but I kind of like it so I might leave it alone.


While painting I was thinking about how a little thing like this can make such waves...
This is the reference picture I used, so you see it was pretty loosely interpreted.

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter plein air

A couple of days ago I did my first winter plein air. It was 30F and sunny. I was kind of stuck what to paint next, and I should learn from previous experience that taking a walk will inspire me. When I was walking the dog in the woods I stood by this creek for a while. The sun was on my face and it occurred to me that it would actually be a nice spot to paint. I've been a bit of a fair weather plein air painter, not the hardy type that paints in -20F. This day seemed doable. So I went back home to grab my stuff and went back to this spot. I learned some lessons, like how thick the paint is in cold weather. I also accidentally packed ptalo blue instead of the cobalt or ultramarine which I usually use. That made for a different color than my usual paintings, but I like it. After 2 hours my fingers were frozen, but you get so much "in the zone" that you don't realize. I did enjoy being out there and doing this painting, so this encourages me to do this again. And maybe you will see this one in a larger size!

Monday, January 29, 2018


I have exciting news! I will have my first solo show at the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg. This all came about very suddenly. First it takes me months to get enough courage together to ask, and then they have an opening right away. So this week I have been scrambling to get everything ready. The exhibit will be February 1 through the end of March, and I will have an Artist Reception on Saturday February 10, 4-6PM.
Save the date!

Art Exhibition Invitation

Landscape Paintings by Annemiek Haralson
Exhibition February 1-March 31

Artist Reception February 10, 4-6PM

Ulysses Philomathic Library

74 E. Main Street

Trumansburg, NY 14886

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January Super Moon

On the first day of January we had clear skies while there was a super moon. Even though it was also super cold I stood outside for a while looking at the moon shadows and the contrast of the snow on the dark branches. The light at the neighbor's house added a touch of warm yellow. I just had to paint this feeling of cold beauty. So I painted this over the few days, in the daytime, while cozy in my studio. 
It will be going to a new home soon!

In other news: I've slowly been adding small works to my Daily Paintworks Gallery. I'm excited about this site, and a couple of paintings have gone to new homes!

Saturday, January 13, 2018


 This was today's view from my studio. The dry purple coneflowers look like cotton puff balls.
Under the motto "draw what you see" I did a little sketch of a few of them. It was fun to use the black walnut ink again. I think it is a little hard to see that it is snow on top.
As I was drawing, I suddenly saw some movement on top of the snow. A deer was peeking over the top of the snow mount! Surprise! Too bad I did not have my camera handy, it was so funny to see.
By the time I got upstairs the dogs saw the deer too and scared it away quickly.