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Evelyn McCorristin Peters: 11.2009

Evelyn McCorristin Peters

Fine art for everyone


What's Your Color Vocabulary?

I am constantly studying other artists paint palettes. Color is my passion and I like to see what hues were used to create the works that I love. Explaining color can be challenging. The little I once knew regarding technical terms has slowly faded away. Each year I have taken a class with a great friend and artist Jean Blackburn. This past fall she discussed color.

Jean has taught me to use a very limited palette and it has made a world of difference in my work. My basic palette is as follows, with an occasional addition determined by subject matter.

Daniel Smith Titanium White
Daniel Smith Naples Yellow
Sennelier Cadmium Yellow Light Hue
Daniel Smith Indian Yellow
Van Gogh Rose Quinacridone
Daniel Smith Alizarin Crimson
Winsor & Newton or Daniel Smith French Ultramarine
Gamblin or Daniel Smith Pthalo Blue
I have recently added Gamblin Burnt Umber

If I add cadmium, it is always a “hue.” Cadmiums are generally unstable and toxic for the artist, although Gamblin claims that their cadmiums are very stable. Regarding toxicity I no longer use and kind of mineral spirits to clean my brushes. I clean all my brushed with Canola oil. I have brushed that have lasted over 25 years. Occasionally I will take brush soap and give them a good thorough cleaning. Most of the time if I know I may not be painting for a few days I just give them a coat of Vaseline.

Here are some great definitions we can all use to communicate our color choices! All pretty basic, but good to review!
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The Ups and Downs of Plein Air Painting

I recently had a “Twitter Conversation” with the wonderful artist Debbie Lamey-MacDonald, (click here to go to her blog) @lameymacdonald (click her to follow her on twitter). Please make sure to visit her blog and view her beautiful work. On Sunday, she had posted her recent Plein Air efforts. Debbie lives in Nova Scotia, so it may have been her final opportunity to paint outdoors. Her results were well worth the effort of braving the cold as the sunset and all warmth left her surrounding.

I live in the very different climate of Southwest Florida. The weather allows me to plein air paint for most of the year. The year round temperate weather makes up for the lack of strong seasonal changes that others enjoy in the northern climates. The shift to fall and winter is much more subtle here. Most everything remains green, but the green is less intense and a few trees do lose their leaves, quickly regaining them in late February. Fall here often reminds me of spring in the Northeast, the temperatures are similar and so is the light. This is the aspect of a Florida fall I like the most, the change in light. Everything becomes a little defused, not as crisp and bright as it is in 100-degree weather.

I love to paint outdoors and 90 percent of the time I produce a piece of which I am proud. The 10 percent is brutal, and I had that experience this morning. I am working on a series of the world around me. I live in an isolated area surrounded by pastures and the Myakka State Park. It is common to see deer, wild boar, wild turkeys, and a Florida bobcat. There are alligators in my neighbor’s pond on a regular basis.

With the heat, humidity, wild animals, all sorts of creepy crawlies, it is important to be prepared. I always have an umbrella, sunscreen, a hat, tea tree oil for the fire ants, a first aid kit, and my cel phone, although it usually does not get a signal out here! I have a great half Julian easel with a backpack, so I can walk far into the woods to set up and paint whatever catches my eye.

Today I worked on the view from my backyard. The first larger piece did not turn out as I hoped, but I did learn from it as I always do from a piece that is not successful. I did not give up and completed the piece, which will go into my file of “what not to do!” I spent the next ten minutes doing a 5 x 7” study that I love. I advise everyone to do small paint sketches of nature; they will often become your most cherished little pieces!

More of my Plein Air work:
"My World ~ Out the Back Door"
"Plein Air Study ~ Gulf of Mexico"
"Longboat Key Mangrove"



New Inspiration ~ My Vegetable Garden

"We have learned that more of the "earth-earthiness" would solve our social problems, remove many isms from our vocabulary, and purify our art. And so we often wish that those who interpret life for us by pen or brush would buy a trowel and pack of seeds."

- Ruth R. Blodgett (1883-), The House Beautiful (March 1918)

Deborah T. Colter, a wonderful artist recently had a post on her blog discussing the nature in her own backyard. Living in Florida, the changing of the seasons is much more subtle, but they are still there. I don't get the beautiful oranges, reds and yellows of fall leaves, but the mild weather does have other benefits.

When everyone I know up North is putting their vegetable gardens to bed, I am removing the plastic placed over my beds in the beginning of summer and revealing beautiful, rich, soil screaming out for seeds and plantings.

I quickly head out to my local nursery to buy some small tomatoe, zucchini, eggplant and pepper plants for instant gratification. I do mean instant! After one month I am about to have beautiful tomatoes and I will be eating zucchini tomorrow night! Each year I force myself to wait a little longer to plant my lettuce seeds. In September it is still too hot and I know they will come up quickly, arousing excitement, but then bolting into beautiful but bitter flowers. I also wait just a little longer to plant my herbs for they will flower if I am impatient.

Right now all is about to explode with color. Soon I will have too much for us to eat ourselves and I will be able to share this bounty with of the very best parts of having a vegetable garden!

"All gardening is landscape painting."

- Alexander Pope



What is Art!

I've recently had several experiences and conservations that have  challenged both my communication skills and vocabulary when asked the question "what is art?" As an artist I believe I have a definition in my mind that is primarily visual and therefore I have a hard time vocalizing it. Even when asked to define my color strategy I struggle with finding the right words that will enable others to see as I do. I don't necessarily want them to subscribe to my definitions, but I do want them to understand what I'm saying.

Each week I receive a newsletter/email from artist Robert Genn on various subjects. This week Mr. Genn attempts to answer "What is Art?" I found it an insightful response that challenges us to continue to articulate what art means to each individual.

What is art?
November 10, 2009

Dear Evelyn,
This morning, Sharon Cory of Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote, "A woman came into my gallery today, looked around for a bit and asked, 'What is art?'
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"On and Off the Wall"

Last Saturday I entered two pieces of my work in an all media, open, juried exhibit juried by Max Muller. Both of my pieces were accepted and one has won an award, very exciting! Here they are.



Response to Philip Kennicott's Washington Post article "FDR's stimulus package for artists: No cause for nostalgia

Upon reading Philip Kennicott’s Washington Post article, “FDR’s stimulus package for artists: no cause for nostalgia,” I looked back on recent research I had conducted on these very programs. Kennicott touches on the subject of whether there will ever be another government-supported arts program as there was in the 1930’s. He states the answer is no, but challenges us as to whether this is the right question to ask. This question arises from the obvious nostalgia of people visiting the recent Smithsonian American Art museum’s exhibition “1934: A New Deal for Artists.” I think it would be safe to assume that most people visiting this exhibition are those that love art and would generally be approving of   support of the country’s art and artists.
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Progression of "Ruff's First Bath"

Here's how things went this afternoon.


"How Ruff Got His Wiggle Back ~ Ruff's First Bath"

I thought I would show this work in progress, so far I like the way it's coming about. I've changed a few things in the image, made the tub a claw foot (I love those!) and am changing the color of the room. Let me know what you think! Will continue to update as the painting shapes up.


Delicious: The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud - Susan Goldman Rubin - Book Review - New York Times

One of my favorite artists!

“Delicious: The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud,” is the story of a happy man known for his happy paintings of cakes and pies. It turns out he also has many happy things to say about painting. For example: “I love art history” and “I was a spoiled child. I had a great life, so about the only thing I can do is to paint happy pictures.”

(Click on the link for more!)


En Plein Air: One of the First Filmed Plein Air Painters

This is a very quaint video of artist Philip Alexius de László (1869–1937) painting en plein air at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy. I love to see the attitude, set up and attire of these early painters!

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"My World ~ Out the Back Door"

I am currently working on a series of the world around me. Here is a quick study, warm-up for the day.
The view out my back door.



Plein Air Study ~ "Gulf of Mexico"

I had the opportunity to go out and paint by the water now that the humidity is going down a bit. Great location in Sarasota, down the street from Mote Aquarium, lovely little park.

George Bernard Shaw said: "What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day."

And he said: "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
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Ruff's Saga Continues

Just as Ruff the Boxer went through his metamorphosis, his illustrations will as well! I am currently working through polishing up what has been done so far. Today I will start a new adventure for Ruff...swimming! (We all know Boxers are not the best swimmers!)

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Black-And-White Black America - The Picture Show Blog : NPR

Black-And-White Black America - The Picture Show Blog : NPR
(click on this link for more)

Black-And-White Black America

Roy Decarava/Courtesy of The Museum of
Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago

By Claire O'Neill

In the 1950's, photography was hardly considered art. If you wanted to be taken seriously as a photographer, you snapped mountains and models -- not your neighbors. It also helped to be white. But Roy DeCarava, turned all of that on its head. He died this week at the age of 89. Tune in to Fresh Air today to learn more.
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