Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finished Portrait

I just turned over this commissioned portrait to the customer. He seemed very happy- I even got a hug. Not as good as tears, but it still means success. The nice looking one is his niece, the slobbery, wrinkly one is the dog he gave to her but has since died.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Photobucket Portfolio

I've added a link (on the left column of this site) to my Photobucket account. It displays most of the work I've done in recent years. You can look at individual albums of bird paintings, botanical paintings, and portrait drawings. Can't hurt to look!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Does Time Fly, Or What?

A few days ago I received an email inviting me to participate in a 2011 art show. The cycle continues. There's always next year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2 by 2

Cedar Waxwings are social birds, so I felt it was necessary to paint more than one bird at a time. I'm leaning toward multiples in my bird paintings lately. Here they look very busy in the crabapple tree.

Just finished: Cedar Waxwings, Original Watercolor by Anne Gilna

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shining Bright

It's time again for the maple tree in my backyard to produce
its annual display of color. I search the ground for the best
examples, and start painting before they dry up. There are a
few days each October when the tree is at its height of color
and in the afternoon when the sun shines at the right angle
the inside of the house glows with a rosy hue. Then, after a few
memorable days, it passes, until the next year.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Little Chickadees

New this fall - more chickadees. The stiff structure and variegated foliage of the zebra grass in my garden provides the right backdrop for the black-capped chickadees. The grass was just about to bloom at the time, but I didn't want the plumes in the painting. I thought they would cause too much visual clutter. For some reason, I don't want to paint just one chickadee. They are too small and social to appear alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010


I'm working on a commissioned painting of a screech owl. I've done one of these before, and it's like most birds of prey species, characterized by very streaky and barred feather patterns. Also, because the owl is so fluff-feathered, it can shift its shape from lean to puffball. I want it to look relaxed, so I'll fluff it out a bit. I'm trying to avoid the cartoon-like owl's face with the staring eyes. This is a challenge, and I'll post the finished work soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Cool-Looking Bird

I think the Kestrel is the best looking bird around. It's relatively easy to paint, for a bird of prey. There's a minimum of streaking (at least on the male) and the basic colors, indigo, black, and burnt siena, are almost, but not quite, right out of the tube.

Here is my latest original watercolor, American Kestrel, by Anne Gilna 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July Snapshot

The latest blooms: Bee Balm, Purple Coneflower, black-eyed Susan, Joe Pye Weed, Balloonflower, Liatris, Russian Sage. Still hanging in there: lady's mantle, yarrow.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Old-Fashioned Roses

I haven't seen these roses bloom like this in years.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Art in the Garden

There is a lot of purple in bloom now, including false indigo (top) and Siberian Iris (below). Other purples are sage (May Night, the purplest sage), garlic chives, allium , phlox (at least that is what I think it is), annual petunias, maybe more but it's dark out now and that's all I remember.
The combination of the sage and the yarrow (right) blooming together at the same time is something I look forward to every spring. Some years there is a greater overlap of bloom, and this is one of them. It is such a visual delight.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Garden As Art

After spending a recent day planting 25 pots of annuals (including buying them, filling the pots with a combination of last year's and new potting soil, deciding what plants go in which pots and where to place the pots, adding the plant food, and watering the whole thing when done), I can say that the garden is ready for viewing. I even gave much consideration to the placement of various rocks, concrete ducks, and even a gazing ball. All of these elements put together, combined with the existing perennials and a few new ones bought from a plant sale, remind me of creating a painting. I plan, step back, walk around, look from different angles, give it some thought, go away and come back in a while to check and recheck my design decisions. Of course, unlike a painting, the garden changes constantly. In the course of one day, especially in spring, new blooms appear, old ones fade. Right now, I love my garden.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Redwings and Cattails, Together Again

There's something right about these two species together in a painting, done before by me and other artists, but Red Wing Blackbirds just go with Cattails. While I was working on the painting, I accidentally knocked over the cattails which were being kept indoors in a vase, and they "exploded" their little fluffy seeds all over everything.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Things Never Change, and Shouldn't

The 41st Annual NSUC Art Fair- a lot like the 40th Annual Art Fair, and previous year's shows, and that's a good thing. Same booth location, almost the same artists (one in my section was different from before, that I could tell), same customers, same tireless and devoted volunteers. Oh, and same food - a very good thing. Attendance was high for an indoor show, partly due to bad weather and helped by free admission. So, an enjoyable weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

At last!

Soon I will be unpacking the paintings, prints, and cards at my first art show of 2010, the 41st annual art fair at the North Shore Unitarian Church, April 24 and 25. It's all indoors, admission is free, there is good art and good food, it's all good.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Good Year for the Forsythia

The forsythia in my front yard is very hardy and low maintenance, but its blooms are inconsistent from year to year. Some seasons there are hardly any, some seasons it's gone wild. This is a good-blooming year. With some early warm days and recent rain, things are rolling along.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

On schedule

The red winged blackbirds are staking out their territory, making announcements.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

They just know.

Somewhere, not far in the distance, I heard a cardinal singing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Details, details

For a few reasons, I'm not crazy about birds' feet. Not that they smell or anything, but they're scaly, skinny, generally not too attractive, and they're hard to figure out how to draw and paint. I've known for a while that the back toe on the feet of most perching birds is the equivalent of our big toe, and it's not jointed, so it doesn't wrap around a perch like the others do. What I found out today is that the other toes have different amounts of joints, and I've been studying diagrams to help me do the best job of making them look accurate. Who wants to lose a sale because a knowledgeable and particular customer says, "I'm not going to buy that painting because you should know that the third digit has three bones, and I only see two." That's not highly likely to happen, I know. However, I can tell when looking at another artist's work if they have really observed and are educated about their subject. Once, a bird artist I met at a show, a wood carver, pointed out to me that he could tell I knew my subject because my bird's back toe was straight, not bent. Believe it or not, I was flattered by that comment.

I found this very simple yet very helpful drawing from a Google search for bird foot anatomy. It was done by an artist named Jack Laws. I hope I have given him enough credit for this drawing!