Realistic Flower Paintings–Red Rose

Red RoseThe “Red Rose” depicted in this art blog post, is part of a series of realistic flower paintings that I started in 2006. I ran a couple of finished paintings of this series past a gallery director, who shrugged, and I lost confidence in the series (which was sort of silly of me). I decided to work on them again, and “Red Rose” is the first art painting of this flower series that is finished.

The rose is one of the many beautiful flowers in the gardens of the small New England seaport city where I live, Newburyport, Massachusetts. Instead of putting the rose in context with the rest of the garden, I decided to make the background a little different. And this is a very different color palette than what I am used to using, and I’ve never painted a “glowing” flower before. So this is a first.

One of the things that the patrons who have bought my realistic landscape paintings over the years have said, is that they have always love the detail involved in the art paintings. So on this painting of the “Red Rose,” I decided to make the rose itself more detailed than I might normally would have painted, and make the background equally detailed. I’m excited, I really love this realistic flower painting of the red rose.

(Red Rose, Oil on Panel, 8″x10″, Mary Baker (c) 2009)

Realistic Flower Painting–Yellow Lilly

In 2005, 2006 and 2007 I started a series of realistic flower paintings with textured backgrounds, which I love. I ran them past a gallery owner, who shrugged (this happens sometimes) and I gave up on them (which was sort of silly of me). I have a series of these textured background, realistic flower paintings, almost finished, sitting around my studio. So I’ve decided to work on them again. They actually are some of my favorite paintings, and ones that I love to have around my own house.

The Yellow Lilly in this post is oil on panel and 8″x10″, it was painted in 2006, and I’ve never put it anywhere on either my art website or my artist blog, so I thought it was about time to post a picture of the painting. Hopefully, I will put up more of the realistic flower paintings with textured backgrounds as they now get painted.

The textured realistic flower paintings are quite a contrast to the moody landscapes that I have also been working on. Two of these landscapes are in the two previous posts.

(Yellow Lilly, Oil on Panel, 8″x10″, 2006 (c) Mary Baker)

Field 2–Realistic Landscape

Field 2
Oil on Canvas, “20 x 30”
Mary Baker © 2009

Another one of the new Newburyport realistic 2009 landscape paintings by Mary Baker.

Field 2–A visible light on the horizon that the winding pathway is leading to. A moody landscape painting that reflects feelings about the challenging economic times that we are living in. Fear, despair and hope in the future.

Realistic Landscape Painting

Field 1
Oil on Cavas, 12″ x 24″
Mary Baker © 2009

A new realistic landscape painting.

In these challenging economic times, I find that my paintings reflect how I feel. Dark sky, almost like a guillotine, a sliver of light at the horizon line, and a very long pathway leading towards the sunlight, but a sliver of sunlight, none the less.

Website Design

I’ve decided to expand Mary Baker Art to not only include realistic oil paintings, but to also include web help and website design. So I’ve “launched” Mary Baker Design, that is part of Mary Baker Art, but is totally devoted to designing websites and web help.

I seem to have a hidden geek gene, which I am hoping in this lousy economy (recessions are never kind to the arts) will come in handy.

I’ve known for quite a while how to design websites and a lot about web stuff, but it’s been a blast giving myself a two month crash course in designing websites and blogs. It is just amazing how much learning information there is out there on the World Wide Web.

I’ve approached the whole project as if I was preparing for an art show. I did drafts of about ten website designs and then picked three to really concentrate on. And because I’m “new,” or at least officially “new,” to the website design world, I thought I would structure it so that I could give the three websites away for free. They are in WordPress blog software format, which is incredibly versatile. The person who downloads a website can make it look like a blog, a website or a combination of both. They put their own content, title, description, as well as their own information on the two menu bars.

Because I live in the New England seacoast city of Newburyport, Massachusetts, I decided that I would start with images of Newburyport for the first website designs. The first website includes one of Newburyport’s most beloved historic photographs, the “Clam Shack Workers,” which is at the top of this post. The historic photograph is in the public domain in the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library, which is an incredible resource. I’ve included a photograph of the website “Clam Shack” itself. Maybe eventually I will start to design websites specifically for artists.

The Wonders of Photoshop

As we enter, or already have entered, into this lousy economy 2009, where “the arts” have taken a tremendous hit, I’ve decided to tap into my “inner geek.” I’ve always loved Photoshop, and as a painter I have always felt that Photoshop is one of those “guilty pleasures.”

What would literally take me years to paint, I can accomplish in Photoshop in 30 minutes. Instant gratification. Presto. One of the things that I have also been doing, is learning all about designing websites. And I love it. It’s been enormously rewarding. The present design for the Mary Baker Art-Blog is a very own Mary Baker, Mary Baker Art creation. As a painter, the pink tube at the top would have taken me a very long, long time to paint, but in Photoshop, it’s a zip.

And I’ve also been experimenting with how to create different frames for the web for my paintings in Photoshop, which is an amazing amount of fun. In this post is a painting of the fields, where I live, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, a small oil on paper, in an experimental Photoshop frame.

Realistic Flower Paintings–The Sherry French Gallery

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I am incredibly excited to be in a third show at the Sherry French Gallery in New York City, “Flowers in February.” It is an honor.

The Sherry French Gallery
601 West 26th Street
NYC, NY 10001
212-646-8867

“FLOWERS IN FEBRUARY”
Representational Sculptures and Still Life Paintings

January 30th thru February 23rd, 2008

Mary Baker, (artist’s website)
(For a detailed a biography, please press here)

Realistic Paintings-Flowers, New York City Art Gallery

Rose

Rose
Oil on Paper
7” x 8”
Mary Baker © 2005

(Sold)

Group show at the:

The Sherry French Gallery
601 West 26th Street
NYC, NY 10001
212-646-8867

The show is:

“Small Sizes-Prescious Pieces”
Representational Paintings and Sculpture

November 28th-December 29th, 2007

sunflower.jpg

Sunflower 3
Oil on Paper
5” x 10”
MaryBaker © 2005

Mary Baker, (artist’s website)
(For a detailed a biography, please press here)

Realistic Landscape Paintings and New York City Art Gallery

marsh_4.jpg

Marsh 4
Mary Baker © 2007
Oil on Paper
6″ x 20″

(Sold)

And a nice thing happened.

A New York City realist gallery, specializing in Contemporary Realism (the kind of realism I paint) contacted me, and the art gallery has taken a few of my paintings and will include them in a couple of group shows this year.

This happened a few of weeks ago.

The Gallery is:
The Sherry French Gallery
601 West 26th Street
NYC, NY 10001
212-646-8867

The first show opens September 5– September 29, 2007.

“Mainly Maine
Landscape Paintings from Maine and Beyond”

Getting contacted by a New York gallery is nice. And seeing the realistic landscape, “Marsh 4” by Mary Baker, hanging in the heart of “Chelsea,” that has now become the heart of the art world in New York City, is nice too.

Mary Baker, (artist’s website)
(For a detailed a biography, please click here)

Artist, Realistic Landscape Paintings

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“The Pasture”
Oil on Paper, 5.5″ x 22″
2007 © Mary Baker

(Sold)

Along with being an artist, I am also very involved in the community that I live in, Newburyport, Massachusetts. So much so that I started The Newburyport Blog a little over a year ago.

One of the things that I’ve learned about as an artist, is how involved many of the people of Newburyport, MA are in preserving “Open Space” or Newburyport’s landscapes, something which as an artist, I had always taken for granted. Something I had always presumed would always be there.

I think paying so much attention to this fight for Open Space in Newburyport, MA is one of the many reasons that as an artist that I have gone back to painting landscape paintings.

The painting, the “Pasture” above is one of the many places that the people of Newburyport are trying to preserve.

As an artist it is a privilege to still be able to paint realistic landscapes of my home town, Newburyport, MA.

More of the “Open Space” realistic landscape paintings can be found at my artist website Mary Baker Art.

Mary Baker

Mary Baker–Painting, Realistic Landscapes, The Marsh, Newburyport, MA

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Marsh 2
Oil on Canvas
20″ x 30″
Mary Baker © 2006

Landscapes of the Marsh, Newburyport, MA

I’ve been painting the marshes of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a small New England seacoast city since 1983.

I always seem to go back to them. They are compelling.

Aside from the sense of wide open space, the vastness of Newburyport landscape, I keep wondering why I go back to painting the Newburyport marshes again and again.

Last year I found out something very interesting. I don’t know whether it is germane or not, but I am intrigued.

My ancestors farmed a large piece of land on Shelter Island. The land became a State Park.

Shelter Island is at the very end of Long Island, New York, in between the two forks at the end of Long Island.

I will reluctantly admit that I have never walked the land that my ancestors farmed so faithfully.

However, about a year ago I looked up pictures on the Internet of Shelter Island. And what I discovered was that the landscape is almost exactly like the landscape of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

So what I am wondering is if the landscape of Newburyport, MA and Shelter Island is somehow in the “hard drive” of my artistic unconscious.

Mary Baker

Mary Baker, Realistic Landscape Paintings of Newburyport’s Marsh

Marsh 1
Oil on Canvas,
24” x 36 “
Mary Baker © 2006
A painting of Newburyport’s marshes

Paintings of the marshes by Mary Baker are back!

This painting “Marsh 1” is the first one of the new series of marshes that has been completed.

The last marsh painting I finished was in 2002. Probably the last time the marsh paintings were exhibited was 1995. So it’s been a while for marsh paintings from Mary Baker, that’s for sure.

I wasn’t sure whether or not I had a marsh painting left in me, but I guess I do. I ended up liking this painting of Newburyport’s marsh a lot.

Mary Baker

Recipes for Artists, Summer

Oh my goodness, it’s summer and who wants to cook, not moi. But I do want to eat well. So at the end of a hot artist’s day, what to munch on?

Don’t recoil, hang in there with me, yes, folks Liverwurst.

Liverwurst, yuck, you’ve got to be kidding. Well folks, I was born and raised in New York City, so I get the liverwurst thing.

Here we go. Liverwurst has 170% Vitamin A, 10% Vitamin C and 20% Iron. The stuff is actually good for you. (Ok, the fat and cholesterol is a little high, but you’re not going to be eating gobs of it, I promise.) Think of it as the poor man’s pate. And yes it is inexpensive. Get it pre-sliced.

Get tomatoes, either crumpled feta or blue cheese (there are inexpensive brands of these in containers, cheese already pre-crumpled,) humus, garlic salt (I think a must on any shelf,) shredded regular cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack, whatever you like,) and a loaf of half way decent French or Italian bread.

You can slice up the French or Italian bread and put it in the freezer, so it won’t get all moldy, and take out a couple of slices when you need them. (Fat loaves can be sliced and long loaves can be cut in chunks and halved.)

Aluminum foil. Get out a sheet of aluminum foil and put on let’s say two slices of bread. Spread with margarine. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Spread the humus on top. Cut one or two slices of liverwurst into thin strips and lay them with space in between on top of the humus. Sprinkle with feta or blue cheese. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle tomatoes with shredded cheese (the cheddar, mozzarella, monterey jack.)

Put under a toaster oven or under a broiler for a few minutes until cheese on top is warm and melted.

Yummy, filling, all food groups and actually good for you.

Mary Baker

Art, Realistic Painting, Content and Quirkyalone

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Pansies
Oil on Canvas
24” x 36”
Mary Baker © 2004

The realistic painting in this post, “Pansies,” could there be a better example of “Quirkyalone?”

Here is this lovely pot of pansies sitting on a stoop on an early spring Newburyport, New England day, bathed in light, obviously utterly content in its solitude. Not schmaltzy, sentimental happy, but content.

My father, who is 88, could be considered quirkyalone. He has a lovely lady-friend, and the ladies still love him, but he has lived alone for the last 16 years and seems quite satisfied.

One of the things my father loves, loves, loves to do is go out for dinner alone. He lives in New York City so there are a lot of great places to dine. When I am in New York with him and we go out to eat, everybody seems to know him and he knows them.

My father will go and sit at a table or sometimes at the bar and order dinner. He will ask the waiters and waitresses and bartenders about their day and their lives with genuine curiosity and care. And he will often give me updates on who is doing what. No wonder he always gets seated.

My father is also one of my biggest art encouragers as an artist. I am incredibly lucky to have my Dad. Qurikyalone and quite content.

Mary Baker

(Editor’s note: I just found out that “Quirkyalone” is a book by Sasha Cagen, written in 2004. I’ve just gone to the bookstore and bought a copy and am about to sit down with a cup of tea and read it.)

(Editor’s Note: Please do not use any image that belongs to Mary Baker. It is a copyright infringement and it is against the law. I have found at least one image on another site, used without my permission, in a way that is unacceptable. The image has not been removed, and I am not pleased.

Unfortunately this forces me to put copyright information across the art images, which ruins it for everyone who would like to see the paintings. Mary Baker)

Art, Realistic Painting, Quirkyalone

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Day Lily
Oil on Paper
9” x 18”
Mary Baker © 2005

Can you tell I’m quite taken by this whole notion of “Quirkyalone.” I think it’s very cool.

So much of my life as an artist, for me requires being alone, and I often wonder if I’m just not odd. The art-incubation part of my own creative process seems to necessitate lots and lots of time alone. And it is so nice to find folks out there in web-land who have come up with this phrase and idea of “Quirkyalone.” I just love it.

Many, many of my paintings are about the enjoyable part of solitude. Take “Day Lily” at the top of the page. Now there’s your ordinary flower, at least in the Northeast in Massachusetts it’s an ordinary flower, but in the realistic painting it seems quite at home with itself.

And in this realistic painting, the “Day Lily” is transformed out of its ordinary state. It seems ignited in the darkness, with all its beautiful lines and veins shining through. Its solitude, if you will, is a beacon in the darkness.

“Day Lily” is another one of my favorite Contemporary Realism realistic paintings.

Mary Baker

Art, Artists, Quirkyalone

I love being alone. I love working alone. I love walking alone. I love cooking alone. I love watching movies and TV alone. I love going to art museums and art galleries alone.

I consider myself my own best friend. No one knows as much about me as I do.

The older I get, the more I like to be alone.

I was beginning to think I was really nuts. And then I came across these folks in web-land who also like to be alone, and the name that has come about is “Quirkyalone.”

That made my day. Because as far as I can figure out, I’m just inherently like this and I like it that way. Now society says I’m not supposed to like it that way, but I do, which is very handy for an artist.

“Quirkyalone” doesn’t mean lonely, or a hermit, or single, it simply means liking to be alone and being that comfortable with yourself.

This really, really works for me. What a relief.

Mary Baker

Recipes for Artists, Mexican Meals

Well boys and girls, this recipe is a real keeper and easy, easy, easy and so versatile.

Mexican meals in all sorts of ways.

The Base:

Two onions, chopped and cooked in canola oil until wilted. Add 2 lbs hamburger or a little less, one and a half pounds is good too. A teaspoon of salt for each pound of hamburger and then, depending on how spicy you like it, 1-4 tablespoons (yes, that’s the big spoon) of chili powder. Poke the hamburger to divide it up as much as possible and cook until hamburger is done. Cooking the hamburger should take about 5-10 minutes.

Then add one large can of whole (peeled please) tomatoes. Poke the tomatoes to divide them up too and simmer for 15-20 minutes. And viola, a delicious base Mexican meal base.

All the things you can do with your Mexican base to make all sorts of Mexican meals:

1) Add a can of red pinto beans and yes, viola again, you have chili. Serve straight or over rice (get the “boil a bag rice”, done in 10 minutes and if wrapped in Saran wrap keeps for quite a while and you can make the “boil a bags” in bunches) with shredded Monterey Jack cheese (already shredded in a bag.)

If you have time and want to get real fancy you can add some or all (you can do this with the tacos too) : chopped onions, chopped black olives, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped avocado, salsa.

2) Tacos. Get tacos, again shredded Monterey Jack cheese and chop lettuce and tomatoes. Put together with the meat at the bottom. A little salsa on top is easy and quick too. See above for fancy extras. Quick, quick, quick and so good. And yes, has all the food groups.

3) My favorite, an enchilada casserole. Get large can of enchilada sauce and corn tortillas. In one of those round glass baking dishes, put a little enchilada sauces on the bottom. Put one corn enchilada (basically what you are doing here is making a Mexican lasagna) more sauce to cover enchilada. Put meat base on top and then a good dosing of Monterey Jack cheese.

Cover 2-3 corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce. Put on top. More meat, more Monterey Jack cheese. Last layer, 1-3 tortillas coated in enchilada sauce again, top with rest of the Monterey Jack cheese and drizzle some of that leftover enchilada sauce over it. Cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until bubbling. Don’t burn it for goodness sakes.

Top secrete information – let it cool and then serve individual portions. Same principle as “tastes better the next day.”

© Mary Baker, artist who loves really good recipes for Mexican meals.

Art, Realistic Painting, Rose and Fence

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Rose and Fence
Oil on Paper
16″ x 10″
Mary Baker © 2004

I like this painting “Rose and Fence.” I like it because it’s a painting of a pink rose but it’s not sentimental. Personal preference, I’m not big on sentimental paintings.

It’s also a Contemporary Realism painting because of the composition.

The white columns of the fence come from all the time I spent in the Whitney Museum of Art looking at Minimalist paintings like those of Kenneth Noland and Minimalist sculpture like those of Donald Judd. The modernist compositions have stuck solidly in my art unconscious. I also have a “yen” for those compositions, wanting to see them reappear in realist paintings all over the place.

It seems to me as if this beautiful pink rose is somehow escaping from jail, peeking its head between the fence posts, yearning for the sun. The fence in the painting has a jail like quality about it…possibly not so good for sales?

That luscious rose seems lonely. No other roses around, not even any leaves.

But the flower seems quite capable of existing by itself, if that is what is required, thank you very much. A realistic flower with chutzpah?

And that hint of shadowed, somewhat foreboding clapboards between the fence posts. Is it escaping from a dark and spooky home, hoping for the sunlight? Seems that way.

Hopefully that lovely pink rose has a lush, fecund, feminine quality about it — female anatomy and all.

I like this painting of a Contemporary Realist realistic flower painting.

Mary Baker

Recipes for Artists

I love to eat well, but at the end of the day I don’t feel much like cooking.

What I almost always do is make a large batch of something that tastes good and is good for me at the beginning of the week so there is always something delicious and nutritious at the end of the day. Whoever is around eats what I eat.

So one of the things I thought I would do on this art blog is share recipes for artists. Something easy and quick to make and that you can look forward to eating. It also saves a whole lot of money that can be used for other things.

Lasagna, the really, really easy version:

What I made this week was lasagna. So easy, the secrete ingredient is garlic, that minced garlic that they now have in little jars, great stuff.

Get the lasagna that you do not have to boil. Decent looking spaghetti sauce, medium jar. One medium size cottage cheese and one medium size ricotta cheese. A packet of shredded mozzarella cheese and some parmesan cheese. Yes, and that minced garlic in a jar, don’t forget that minced garlic.

Mix the ricotta cheese and cottage cheese and about a third of the garlic in a bowl and add maybe a half an egg or a whole egg, it doesn’t really matter.

A glass rectangular baking pan (you can get these at places like Walmart cheap.) Put some of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom. Put three of the lasagna strips side by side. Put half of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and half the mozzarella. Put a little more spaghetti sauce on, three more lasagna strips, the rest of the cheese mixture, parmesan cheese and more mozzarella. Top with three more strips of lasagna, spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese and the rest of the mozzarella.

After doing this once, it will probably take you all of 10 minutes to put it together. Enough for a lot of meals.

Cook at 350 for 30 minutes to an hour or until it bubbles. Don’t let it burn.

Big secrete. Let it cool first, and then reheat pieces as you want them. The same principle as “food always tastes better the next day.”

More complicated version:

A filling.

Two onions chopped. Cook on medium heat in canola oil until limp. Add one pound or so of hamburger. Throw in some oregano, thyme and maybe garlic salt. When that’s cooked add one large can of diced tomatoes. Yes and some more of that minced garlic in a jar. Simmer maybe 10-15 minutes.

Even fancier:

When you add the diced tomatoes, add some chopped up zucchini, maybe 2 zuchinnis, a chopped green pepper or two and a small packet of regular sliced mushrooms. Don’t forget that minced garlic. Simmer this version a little longer maybe 20-30 minutes.

Layer in after the cheese. This last one includes everything. Meat, veggies, calcium, starch…all the food groups. You’re good to go. After you do it once, should take you about 45 minutes on the fancier and fanciest version, but it’s yummy and it’s worth it, I think.

Mary Baker © 2006

Realistic Art, Painting, Flowers and Roses

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Rose
Oil on Paper
7” x 8”
Mary Baker © 2005

It all started last summer. I wanted to tile my basement floor, but it was too expensive, so I painted “faux” tiles and they looked great. I never “fauxed” anything, although I know a lot of my fellow artists are very good at “fauxing” all kinds of things. This was new to me, so I decided to try it out on my flower paintings.

I had been painting flowers with dark backgrounds to make them “pop.” But one of the things I found that was very discouraging, was that people were taking photographs of flowers, putting dark backgrounds on them in Photoshop, and then printing them on canvas. Doing them in short order and selling them of course for “peanuts.” (I have this love – hate relationship with Photoshop, but more on that maybe another time.)

It also seemed that everywhere I looked that summer, “spas” were popping up all over the place. People were building huge bathrooms and calling them “spas.” And in my little town there seemed to be new “spas” everywhere.

So one of the things that crossed my mind was what kind of flower painting would be a “spa” flower painting? And I thought well, why don’t you try some of that “faux” stuff that you learned painting “faux” tiles on your basement floor on some flower paintings. That might be cool.

And they would be much harder to duplicate in Photoshop too, I hope.

So at the top of this post is a rose bud I painted with a dark background, which I love. And at the bottom of this post is a pink rose with a “faux,” “spa” background, which I think is pretty interesting. And the new “spa flowers,” as I am now calling them, are fun to paint, especially when I want to take a break from painting landscapes.

Mary Baker

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Pink Rose
Oil on Panel
8” x 10”
Mary Baker © 2006

(Editor’s Note: Please do not use any image that belongs to Mary Baker. It is a copyright infringement and it is against the law. I have found at least one image on another site, used without my permission, in a way that is unacceptable. The image has not been removed, and I am not pleased.

Unfortunately this forces me to put copyright information across the art images, which ruins it for everyone who would like to see the paintings. Mary Baker)