My all-time favorite painting, of my daughter at ballet class when she was 5 years old. I like the way the late afternoon sunlight gleams over the wood floors and glows on the pink tutus. My favorite aspect of the painting is the distinct personalities of the girls conveyed by their postures. I don’t think any of them was too excited to be there and you can tell. Parents don’t get to observe the class except twice a year so on this rare occasion I took many photos to use as references for my painting.
I didn’t set out to do a painting inspired by Degas’ famous ballerina paintings but it ended up that way.
For four summers, my husband studied at Oxford University for a master’s and I went each time for a short visit. Here is a place I loved to visit: the common pasture beyond the city called Port Meadow, where anyone with livestock could let their animals graze. The Thames river ran by it (it is in the background behind the line of trees) and there were always cows and horses peacefully moving through the landscape, with the sounds of birds and the river around them.
This painting was done over the course of about 8 to 10 weeks, but worked on only one day a week for 3 hours at a time. This was because it was for a painting class at LIAFA (Long Island Academy of Fine Art). The painting is unfinished, as the class was over before I could tie up loose ends and besides, the gourds were pretty withered by then.
This was the first oil landscape I ever attempted. It was painted en plein air at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, NY. Under the tutelage of David Peikon, I was able to step out bravely into the world of landscape painting which had hitherto been very intimidating. David Peikon is not only a wonderful teacher but is first and foremost an accomplished painter. Visit his website at artistdavidpeikon.com.