Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" -Christmas Carol

Inks, metallic pen, linocut print, collage
This year's Christmas Carol is one of my many favorites. "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" was written by Charles Wesley in 1744.  This year I focused on the flowing lines of calligraphy and the simple lines of the linocut and snowflakes. It is hard to see the metallic silver reflecting the light in the photo as it does in person.  I think a dark blue mat would compliment this piece nicely.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Christmas Carol time...

It's that time of year again, when I choose a favorite Christmas Carol to illustrate.  I really enjoy working on a new one each year.  So far, I have illustrated three Christmas Carols, and they are all have a different look.  I am just noticing that the are all from the 1800's.  Perhaps this year I should choose an older one...
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Phillips Brooks, 1868
    It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Edmund Hamilton Sears, 1849
watercolor, ink, gold paint

 O Holy Night
Adolphe Adam, 1847
           watercolor, gold, silver paint, ink, acrylic


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Moonlit ride

Moonlit ride
This one was just for creative play.  I experimented with using a palette knife for parts of it.
This painting is based off of a beautiful evening on the NH coast, when I watched people ride on the beach. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Floating - Swimmers series

Swimmers Series 1
40x30" Oil
             I started this large oil painting about 8 months ago, and my models are two of my beautiful sisters.  Since I love water and beautiful sunlight, as well as the childlike feeling of carefree summer days, I wanted to capture that in Floating.  This painting is the first in a series that I hope will evoke memories, a sense of peacefulness and a moment of wonder.  This painting was a challenge, but I loved the blending of realism and abstraction to create this scene; and that exacting learning process kept me curious and engaged until its completion. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Swimmers Continued...

Detail of unfinished painting - artificial light
It has been about six months since I started this large oil painting, and I still have more time to put in on it.  The challenge of working as a full time art teacher, having a second job at times and working on other art makes this a slow process, as well as the fact that it is in oil.
Sometimes when I am painting, I think about how it seems that my brain is being taxed as much as if I were doing hours of math or writing a long research paper. When I painting, I am constantly making comparisons and decisions while thinking of a multitude of color combinations,and how those colors will affect the values surrounding them. However, unlike math or research writing, there is this constant energy involved in the creative process that kind of nurtures something in me.  So, when I have to stop after several hours, my brain feels taxed as if I just took a math final but at the same time energized, as if I just worked out or had a fun outing.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fall Farm Stand at Snug Habor Farm

Fall Farm Stand
5x7 watercolor
This original 5x7 watercolor painting is of beautiful Snug Harbor Farm in coastal Maine. I stumbled upon this place on a crisp, autumn morning and thoroughly enjoyed walking around their farm and shop.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Maine Boats: painting to benefit Destiny Rescue

Maine Boats
oil on canvas
18 x 24"
The star of this painting, in my opinion, is the strong sunlight illuminating this little group of dinghy boats huddled up around the dock. 
I painted Maine Boats for a silent auction to benefit Destiny Rescue - an organization that works to end child sexual exploitation and slavery.  Destiny Rescue rescues, restores and protects children in several countries and you can read more about their work below:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Small Wonder Gallery

Midcoast Maine Fishermen
Christine Blain
Sold though Small Wonder Gallery
Sept, 2018

Just thought I would highlight Small Wonder Gallery in Camden, Maine. It's a wonderful little place right on the public wharf. If you are ever  on the Maine coast and can stop in Camden, it is a delightful little town.  Click on the link below to view.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Art Journal Pages: Late August

You know when you have one of those moments, when you drink in the natural world that God created and just feel so inspired and appreciative of the beauty of it all?  Here's a couple pages of that inspiration for me today.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Can an artist work without exposure to hazardous-solvents?

 I have met a lot of people who don't want to work in oils because of the hazardous fumes and chemicals.  I was one of them and, in fact, way back in college in many years ago; I took a studio painting class in which we all used paint thinner and I even ignorantly rinsed the paint of my hands with it!
After some research on the subject, I believe that you can work in oil and still avoid paint thinners and other hazardous chemicals.  I thought I would post here how I work in oils.  Here is a photo of two of the flow mediums I work with when I am oil painting.  The two pictured are Walnut Alkyd, Safflower, and I also use Linseed oil.  I add a little of these oils to my paint when I need to increase flow, but end up using very little of them.  I pour a tablespoon or so of each into 3 tiny mason jars and choose from them as I paint.  Safflower should be used sparingly, but doesn't yellow as linseed tends to.  Walnut oil is good overall, but I tend to use it with darker pigments and save the safflower for lighter pigments.  If you keep them in the fridge between uses, they will stay fresh for months.

On the oil paint tubes, you will either see an "AP" or a "CL" - the AP means it is safe to use and the CL means it has hazardous properties.   All my oil paints have the AP label, and I tend to use Winsor and Newton's Winton oil paints.

To clean my brushes, I use a little jar of "The Masters" brush cleaner and preserver.  It is a solid substance that looks soap-like and after wiping off my brushes, I load them up with this and rinse them.  It takes a long time to use the jar up, so one little jar can last for months.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Watercolor Pool Painting

16 x 20" watercolor, gouache
I got an idea to paint a few large watercolors in this theme.  I like the contrast between the detail of the figures/floats and the abstract nature of the water.
I have several projects now in the works.... the large oil of my first swimmer's series, more large watercolors in this theme and a new painting I'm starting for a charity auction.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bubbles, deep shadows, highlights continued...

Painting the water is a cool challenge.  I am letting myself interpret the water how I wish and only looking at the original photo for a general reference of light and dark areas. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Swimmers continued...

The photo above shows my latest work on the water highlights and bubbles.  The photo below shows the development of the swim caps.  The pictures look different in color due to the kind of light and camera I took the pictures with.  (While I am in progress, I am not so concerned about the color in the photo.) 
I really like how while much of this painting is realistic, much of it is abstract, due the water.  I am really loving this process - I just wish I wasn't so busy that I have to walk by my painting for weeks while I attend to work, grad courses and other things in life.

Monday, June 25, 2018

still in progress...

This is taken in artificial light, but it shows the white bathing suit I finally chose for the left figure.  I painted about 9 paper suits and posted them over the figure and polled my facebook audience ( click here for ArtofChristineBlain ) for opinions, as I struggled to decide the color/pattern.  Before long, I had singled out a plain navy, a red and a white suit, but so did several others.  With the 3 suits in a triple tie, I kept placing them over the figure and kept stepping back and analyzing what my eyes did as they looked at the painting.  Finally, I had to imagine the colorful shadows on the white that would eventually tone it down, and then imagine the bright sparkles on the water surface that will eventually blend it into the water a little more.  Once I realized this, I could tell that white was the most cohesive and complimentary partner for the other suit.
The next step is to deepen the skin tones on the left while adding refracted light patterns and then on to the hair and bathing caps. After that, the pool water and surface highlights will get tackled.  It has been a slow process, as it is a large oil, and as I have been moving, working and doing grad courses!


Sunday, May 6, 2018

First in Swimmers Series - In Progress

I am inspired to start a new series in oil that captures the wonderful feeling of summer and childlike playfulness. This first painting is a challenge, as I am in the throes of understanding the way the water refracts the sunlight, causing interesting lines and shapes on my subjects.  My two lovely models are two of my three sisters, and I have chosen to paint them in vintage 50's swimsuits.   

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Buoy Shack
16x20" acrylic
on 2" gallery-wrapped canvas
This buoy covered shack is a famous landmark located on Bailey Island in Harpswell, Maine.  Bailey Island is home to beautiful Mackerel Cove, which affords many sightings of boats, fishing villages and the rocky Maine coastline.
This one proved to be a challenge for me.  After 5 different skies and several redo's in other places, I am finally happy with the result.  I really liked the scene and composition so I didn't want to give up on it.  Although oil has its own challenges, it may have been easier to use in this case.  

Friday, March 16, 2018

On the Easel...

I chose this scene from among the photos I took this summer while traveling up the coast of Maine.  Although I am liking the way it's turning out so far, it hasn't been an easy process, as I have had some artist's block/struggle on this one.  I joke to myself that I should title it "The Fourth Sky" since in this case, the fourth time's a charm!  Stay tuned... we will see if I can finish this one without any more problems!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Commissioned Horse Paintings

Jewell                             Arabella
Two 11x14 inches
on 2 inch gallery wrapped canvas
These beautiful horses were the subject of my latest commission.  People who own and love their pets know how much joy that an animal can bring to one's life. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mini Art Journal

I created this mini art journal as a sample for my journaling workshop. Its always fun to choose a favorite subject in nature and study it up close - kind of like discovering "a world in a grain of sand."


Friday, February 9, 2018

Art Journal Pages


As I teach a course on visual journaling, I am turning out a few pages/covers along with my adult students.  While visual journaling is a lot of fun, it is also a great way to de-stress.