Oscar party

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

As usual, Aaron and Casey served up delicious Oscar-movie-themed food for their annual Oscar party

random related posts:



Shades of Gray: Simmons Sculpture Painting Series

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

I had a tube of gray oil paint in my studio for years and I’ve almost never touched it. Why paint with gray when there are so many color combinations that give you a much more interesting shade of gray? True-gray is, of course, a 50/50 mix of white and black, but out in the real world, we see grays in a rainbow of colors … just look at all of the shadows around you.  

I recently finished a series of four oil paintings that I created together to explore many different ways to paint gray. The paintings are two views of two sculptures at the Portland Museum of Art, and each one is painted with only two colors, plus white.

Simmons Sculpture – series by Becky DiMattia
each painting: oil on 10×20″ canvas
2017

This series is special to me partly because this was a lot of fun to paint, but also because it was really challenging for me, and because of the special memories attached to these sculptures, which I first saw ten years ago. This series accomplishes several artistic goals that have been floating around in my mind for years.

20160604_182859First and foremost, my goal was to explore shades of gray with oil paint. I spent a delightful summer afternoon going back to my roots, painting a few color charts using the various tubes of reds, oranges, greens and blues in my studio. After a very scientific decision-making process (staring at them for a long time), I chose four combinations that I think make especially interesting shades of gray:

  • alizarin crimson and oxide of chromium (red and green)
  • alizarin crimson and cerulean blue (red and blue)
  • cadmium red light and oxide of chromium (orange and green)
  • cadmium red light and cerulean (orange and blue)

20160605_125230Each painting uses one only one of these combinations, and white, which means that two of the paintings use the same blue, two use the same red, and so on. In retrospect, it might not have been the best idea for one of the paintings to use only primary colors (red and blue), but as a lover of the color purple, I think it still works in this exploration of rich grays. 

Two of the paintings are of one sculpture, and two are of another. Two of the paintings are a full-length view of that sculpture, and two are a bit more zoomed-in. Two of these paintings came together easily and were finished a while ago. Two of these paintings were left unfinished for months while I puzzled over how to finish them. I have been endlessly fascinated by the endless combinations of pairs among the set of four. 

Another one of my goals was to finally do something with a few favorite photos that I took ten years ago. The Portland Museum of Art has a gorgeous gallery that is filled with sunlight and sculptures by Franklin D. Simmons. Each marble figure is magnificently carved, and they each look especially beautiful to me in the light of the floor-to-ceiling windows. 

I saw this gallery for the first time ten years ago, in Fall 2007, on a family trip to Maine to visit my grandparents, who had a timeshare in Ogunquit that week. Having been to so many museums around the world, it’s a rare treat to visit a museum for the first time, and an even rarer treat to visit a museum with my grandfather, who is also an oil-painter and photographer. I remember being blown away by the beautiful marbles in the sun-filled Simmons gallery, and he and I took several photos. He has also experimented with how to make interesting shades of gray in oils, and he has a beautiful painting that uses only cadmium red light and cerulean, another inspiration for this series. 

A week before that trip, I had started dating the man who is now my husband. I remember talking to him on the phone, looking out over Ogunquit’s Perkins Cove. Brian’s a fellow art-lover, so it was a real treat to show him the Simmons gallery when he and I took a daytrip to Portland the following year. 

Here’s my photoblog entry from our family trip to Ogunquit and Portland in October 2007.  
Here’s my photoblog entry from Brian’s and my daytrip to Portland in December 2008

Brian is an enormously valuable studio assistant, and his opinions on my works in progress have become an essential part of my system. It’s so hard to decide “how much” to paint a painting … in other words, how to decide when the painting is finished. We have had ten years of fascinating debates about this, including a memorably heated debate over the Red/Green painting in this series, which he counts as one of my best paintings. When I saw how incredibly disappointed Brian was after I changed a part of that painting that he really liked, I learned a lot about how much painting can be a team sport. Fortunately, he still likes how the painting came out, and his many valuable insights really helped me to finally finish this series.

Here are the four paintings in the series ‘Simmons Sculptures.’
Please click on the thumbnails to view the whole painting:

 
When I got started on each painting, I took a photo-memo of each painting with its colors so I would keep my combos straight. 

These paintings are based on photographs that I took in 2007 and 2008 of two marble sculptures by Franklin D. Simmons (1839-1913), Medusa and Promised Land. Please click on the links to visit their pages on the Portland Museum of Art’s website.

 

random related posts:



purple gray

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

random related posts:



fancy drinks

Friday, February 24th, 2017

We met up with Mel for dinner at Assembly Row and had fancy adorable drinks at Earls (yes, it’s a honey bear shaped glass … very grown-up)

random related posts:



Icy pond

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Working from home means I can take a long walk at lunch time. It’s 60 degrees in February, and Jamaica Pond’s ice is still melting

random related posts:



Gardner Museum with Mo

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Maureen and I spent a lovely evening at the Gardner Museum, where we met as fellow volunteers 13 years ago!!


random related posts:



Public Gardens Angel

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

random related posts:



Pie bar

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

We took a walk and picked up some incredible pie at the Pie Bar in Florence, MA. It was late afternoon, so the sun was coming in the from the front window at a great angle.


random related posts:



Visiting Becca

Sunday, February 19th, 2017


random related posts:



Rainy roses

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

My sweetie walked home in the freezing rain/snow with a gorgeous bouquet of early Valentines Day roses, and they look especially beautiful with the rain drops 🙂



random related posts:



Snowy evening

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

random related posts:



Jordan Hall

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Due to the awful weather, my parents gave us their tickets to see an Italian Baroque concert by the Handel and Haydn Society at the New England Conservatory’s gorgeous Jordan Hall. phenomenal concert!

random related posts:



Copley Society

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

We popped in to the Copley Society Gallery on Newbury Street for a lovely demo by very talented watercolor artist.


random related posts:



Gardner Museum

Saturday, February 11th, 2017








random related posts:



Fancy drink

Friday, February 10th, 2017

random related posts:



Ogunquit Waves

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

For me, paintings are often nothing more than a way to capture a simple memory, or something that was particularly beautiful to me. I just finished this painting of the waves crashing on the rocks along the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine. I remember spending a bright chilly February morning feeling relaxed and refreshed, watching the waves roll in and make these big foamy splashes on rocks, roll back, then roll right back in and crash all over again. I had a lot of fun taking slow-motion videos of this amazing simple feat of nature, and I posted the videos here … photoblog post from our trip to Ogunquit in February 2016. This painting was also a chance to have some fun with the colors of shadows, which are often far from actual-gray. Here, the waves cast shadows that were a gorgeous shade of deep cobalt blue, requiring the purchase of a shiny new tube of oil paint. 

Ogunquit Waves – by Becky DiMattia, oil on 12×24” canvas, 2017

random related posts:



J & R’s bday

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

The ladies and their friend spent their bday party attacking Uncle Brian and racing with both of their godfathers


random related posts:



Mass Art Icicles

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

random related posts:



Smiles

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

random related posts:



Sticker art

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017


random related posts:



Bedtime stories

Friday, January 27th, 2017

random related posts:



Back Bay sunset

Monday, January 16th, 2017

 

 

random related posts:



Dinner Party 

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

We are so lucky to have friends who spoil us rotten! Our friends recently got an indoor smoker, they invited us over, and treated us to smoked olives, roasted smoked garlic bread, smoked wings with three sauces, homemade fork-rolled gnocchi (I helped!) with an applewood smoked tomato sauce, and peanut butter banana cookies with smoked maple syrup. Seriously!


random related posts:



Curious George

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Our little cousin is obsessed with Curious George, and his parents used to hang out in Harvard Square all the time back in the day, so of course they absolutely had to take him to the Curious George store in Harvard Square, and we were delighted to be invited along for the ride! 

Five DiMattis on a mission.

so   many   books

random related posts:



Visiting Becca

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

random related posts:



Mass Ave Bridge

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

crossing the  Mass  Ave  Bridge to visit a friend after  work 

random related posts:



New year’s day brunch

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

We started off the new year right by hosting brunch for friends, and Mel made a delicious meal! Front and center: cheddar and onion scones … so good!


random related posts:



8th Night

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

What a treat to light all 9 candles of the menorah on the 8th night of Hanukah on New Year’s Eve with two of our dearest friends, before sitting down to a delicious fondue dinner!

random related posts:



New Year’s fondue

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

random related posts:



Snowed in

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

We hit some bad weather on the drive back from Montreal, and decided to wait it out at a lovely hotel in Burlington, Vermont. We had a very pleasant day reading by the fire, then drove home on clear roads the next day. 



random related posts: