Friday, April 24, 2015

"The Stine Family"

"The Stine Family" 40x60 oil

Composite Photo


This is my largest commissioned portrait to date, a 40x60 oil painting of a the Stine family,  consisting of five grown children, two parents and two dogs. It began with a series of photos by my fabulous Tampa photographer Kristina Houser, taken in the family's beautiful backyard that looks out on a canal. We worked on two separate days since it was impossible to coordinate everyone's schedules. Then I worked the magic of Photoshop to combine the favorite shots of each person into one perfect composite photo.

I wanted to arrange the family to create an arrangement that moves your eye around the canvas. As you can see, I had people sit at different heights and at different angles. I'm very pleased with how the different lines of arms and legs mirrors each other and create a rhythm in the painting. I also like how the dominance of blue and green sets off their golden skin tones and the warm colors in their hair. You'll see I changed and darkened some of the clothing in the painting to bring the focus to the mother who sits on the right side.

It took many months to finish this large piece, but in the end the family was very pleased with the painting and it now hangs in a position of honor in their entry hall. 

- Linda

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Knight and Squires–Paris"

"Knight and Squires–Paris" oil 18x24

This is another image from our trip to Rolland Garros (the French Open Tennis Tournament) a few years ago. I love how the ball boys look so well trained and practiced. I thought the tennis player looked fierce and ready for battle–with the ball boys standing in attendance–so I named it "Knight and Squires–Paris"

In the colors of this painting, I wanted to capture the feel of that warm sun reflected off the orange clay court, and also to show the still focus of the player in the midst of all the noise and activity of a tennis grand slam.


–Linda

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Tennis Big Shot–Paris"

"Tennis Big Shot–Paris" 24x18 oil

So far, the only item that's on my husband's bucket list is to attend all the tennis grand slam tournaments: the US Open, Rolland Garros (Paris), the Australian Open, and Wimbledon (London).  This painting is from a photo I took a few years ago in Paris.

I love painting people in hats, so these two immediately caught my eye. I thought they looked like two elegant Parisians taking the day to watch their favorite tennis superstars in action. BNP Paribas, on the court's backboard, is a French bank whose presence is ubiquitous at Rolland Garros.

–Linda

Friday, January 23, 2015

"The Jones Children"

"The Jones Children" oil 18 x 28

Reference Photo


This is my latest commission showing the grandchildren of my client's sister-in-law.  These are repeat clients, having commissioned portraits from me last year of their own grandchildren.

I love this photo; I think the look between the two older cousins is priceless. And I like that the boy on the left only has one shoe on. I worked especially to keep the brushwork lively to reflect the energy of these children.

My clients were delighted with their portrait.  They said when they presented it to their sister-in-law she loved it and got teary eyed.  That's my favorite reaction and it's always a wonderful reward.

- Linda

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Coffee Break–Paris"

"Coffee Break–Paris" 30x30 oil

This is a scene that I caught out of the corner of my eye as Chris and I walked through Paris a few years ago. I just had to stop and take a photo. Just to the right of this group there was a busy corner café and these workers were obviously taking a well-earned break. 

I love how the backdrop of classic Parisian architecture frames the figures,  and also the white and black shapes that their uniforms make. I hesitated to have the figures smoking–since I abhor the habit–but for Parisian waiters it would be unrealistic if at least one of them didn't smoke.  I did compromise by switching out the woman's cigarette for a coffee cup.

–Linda

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Long Shadows–Paris"

"Long Shadows–Paris" 30x30 oil


Another painting of my favorite park in Paris–le jardin de Luxembourg–at my favorite time–late afternoon. Again, this is a compilation of several photos to place the elements in a way that tells the story best.  I just love the woman's relaxed pose, her bare feet, and her shoes tucked neatly under the bench.  l also love the row of statues in the distance which seem to be an echo of previous generations that enjoyed the park.

By the way, I'm always looking for ways to improve my French and Italian and I've found a great app to learn other languages. It's called Duolingo, it's fun and it's free!  I'm using it to learn Italian, but it also has six other European languages.  You can do it on your computer and on your smart phone. If you decide to try it out, please let me know what you think!

–Linda

Friday, September 26, 2014

My New Website!


Taa daa!  I finally have my new website up and running.  It's at LindaHugues.com and it has new a crisp clean look and more features.  I've also included my newest European landscapes and commissioned portraits. Please take a look and let me know what you think!

- Linda

Thursday, September 4, 2014

To Each His Own - Paris

"To Each His Own - Paris", oil, 30x30


For me, one of the most magical places in Paris is the Jardin du Luxembourg, especially in the late afternoon.  The gardens belong to the Palais du Luxembourg, which was originally designed for Marie De Médici, the mother of Louis XIII, and it is now the seat of the French Senate.  The 25-hectare gardens, which are open to the public, are stunning, filled with green lawns, flower beds, terraces, statues, and large ponds where children can sail model boats.

I love it because not only is it very beautiful, but it is excellent people watching as Parisians and tourists enjoy these manicured grounds designed to charm and delight the French royalty. Late on a summer afternoon you see people strolling, reading, and chatting together in small mellow groups, all  enjoying the golden sunlight.  And there are hundreds of sturdy green chairs for anyone that wants to claim one and drag it to a favorite spot to have a snooze.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Sweet and Simple–Hyde Park"

"Sweet and Simple–Hyde Park" 8x10 oil

A few weeks ago my friend Joose and I met in Hyde Park to do some plein air painting together. As usual, it took a while to decide which house to paint. Joose and I liked the bright door and the simple decoration of this one, so we set up to paint from two views. She had cleverly selected a spot in the shade, but my location got progressively more sun as the morning wore on. After a few hours I was hot and sweaty, but pleased with my efforts. Joose, we'll have to do it again when it cools off a bit!

–Linda 

Friday, July 25, 2014

After and Before


"After–Watross Ave." 8x10 oil

"Before-Watross Ave." 10x12 oil

This was a fun project.  My client wanted a portrait of their beautiful house on a quiet street in Hyde Park.  We picked this view because it highlighted the front porch and the huge oak. (The clients said they hadn't gotten around to trimming up the branches, so I went ahead and did it in the painting.)  This view also hints at the additions that have been made by several owners; enlarging at the top, the side and the back.

When I was finished, my clients decided it would be fun to have a portrait of the original house.  They were able to find a black and white photo in the Tampa library's historical records showing the house soon after it was built in January 1929.  As you can see it's just a small simple house design, with same front gable over the porch as today.  I had to add a few young trees to the composition, as the photo showed very little in the way of trees or landscaping.  The neighborhood must have looked very different than today's street lined with huge mature trees.

–Linda

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Joben" Commissioned Pet Portrait

"Joben" Commissioned Pet Portrait, 8 x 8, oil



This sweetheart is the second pet portrait for the client from the previous post.  When I saw the photo I thought he was adorable, but I had to ask my client if she had another photo that showed more of the body, because from this angle  all you see is head.  But she said it must be this photo because this is what Joben always does: sits on the bed and cocks he head as if to say, "What are you saying?".  So, of course, I made it work.  As you can see, I punched up the colors a bit and simplified the background. My client loved it.

–Linda

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Pico" Commissioned Pet Portrait

"Pico", 8x8 oil on board






This cute little Yorkie is named Pico, and he is the sweetheart of my client.  As you can see from the scale of the grass, he's TINY! But he has a big personality, so I made him fill the whole canvas  I also warmed up the color of the grass and his fur just a bit, and I added some violets into the shadows of his coat and the distant trees for contrast.  I love to add small touches of brighter colors to make the portrait more vibrant.

My client was extremely pleased with her portrait and even commissioned a second one as a gift to her daughter.  Stay tuned for that one!

–Linda

Thursday, June 19, 2014

American Charmer–Hyde Park

"American Charmer–Hyde Park", 8x10 oil on board

This cute little house in Hyde Park is my latest home portrait commission.  My client saw me painting a portrait of her neighbor's house and wanted one of her own.  As you can see the house is a very simple cottage (which has been enlarged to the back like many in the area) onto which she had added accessories to turn up the charm: Agapanthus flanking the walk, topiary at the front door, Adirondack chairs with pillows, a red mailbox, and an American flag.  Sweet!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wilderness Lodge-NZ

"The River at Wilderness Lodge–NZ", 5x7 watercolor

The Wilderness Lodge at Lake Moerki is a sprawling arrangement of rooms around a central lodge with dining areas and lounges full of plush easy chairs and fireplaces with cosy lit fires.  All rooms overlook a river that feeds from Lake Moerki.  When we first drove into the parking lot we were pleased to spot a Backroads tourist bus.  We knew this was a good hotel because we had toured with the same company in Costa Rica and they took great care of their clients.


"The Lodge at Lake Moerki–NZ", 5x7 watercolor

The next day Chris and I took an early morning kayak trip. The hotel has a stash of small plastic kayaks that the owner refers to as "bathtubs" because they're so short and wide.  But they're still fun.  When we put in the river we could see the current was moving pretty quickly because of recent rains.  Only once I was on the river did I realized how quickly.  Soon I was paddling as hard as I could, but was barely making any progress.  But I kept at it, and was rewarded by an enchanting scene once we reached Lake Moerki.  The sun was just peaking from behind the surrounding steep hills that were covered by dark green trees.  On one edge was a marsh with golden reeds that just glowed with the soft morning light.  And we had the whole place to ourselves.  It was a magical paddle, followed by a hearty breakfast back at the lodge.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

"Cecelia and Sam"


"Cecelia and Sam", 16x20, oil


This is a recent portrait created from a series of photos by my client.  As you can see she did a great job of choosing outfits for her children, and setting up the lighting and the pose.  In the end I combined two photos and tweaked Sam and Cecelia's children's position a bit to create the composition.  And I modified the colors to give the feeling of that golden Florida sun.

My client was ecstatic with the result.  She said "Linda created a composite that perfectly captures not only the likeness of my children, but also the essence of their personalities and relationship to each other.  Linda's artistry is so detailed and yet somehow ethereal.   I know I will continue to treasure this portrait as a reminder of these sweet baby years as my children grow and change." Wow. It makes me a bit teary-eyed to re-read that!

–Linda

Friday, April 18, 2014

"The Lodge at Awarda-NZ"



"The Lodge at Awarda-NZ", 6x9, watercolor

 Chris and I took a fabulous three day tour of the Able Tasman National Park in New Zealand.  It included hiking and kayaking through the spectacular scenery of the New Zealand south island.  Everywhere you turned it was an amazing view.  At night we stayed at rustic lodges like the one above, accessible only by boat.




The area has really high tides so we had to get up very early to wade through the estuary, before it was impassible.  That water was cold!  I was very appreciative of my neoprene booties that made it bearable.


You can't tell from this photo, but these are two person kayaks, which steer with a rudder controlled by the person in the back.  With Chris in the back, and me in the front yelling, "No!! Go LEFT!!!", we learned why they refer to them as "divorce boats".

–Linda

Monday, April 7, 2014

"The Khalil Children"

"The Khalil Children", 18x23, oil on canvas


This is a recent commissioned portrait of three charming children.  I was pleased that the clients had an excellent photograph with great expressions.  However, I did make a few changes.  I extended the canvas on the bottom to make a better composition.  Then I deleted the girl's leg and I added to the boy's hand and legs.

My clients were extremely pleased and even plan to commission another one in five years.  What a great idea! I'm looking forward to the chance to paint them again.

–Linda

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Shelbourne Villa–Nelson, NZ

"The Shelbourne Villa–Nelson, NZ", 6x9, watercolor

This is a cute little bed and breakfast where we stayed in Nelson, which is on the north tip of the southern island of New Zealand.  It was a beautiful, tidy town, filled with agapanthus.  The natives said they grew like weeds, but we loved their vivid periwinkle color. We had a suite the second floor with the balcony you see here, and views of the surrounding hills.

I loved the villa; it was beautifully decorated and maintained, and our hosts Val and Wayne were very welcoming.  My favorite part was the footed tub; perfect for a relaxing soak.





 –Linda

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Wellington Botanic Gardens–NZ"

"Wellington Botanical Gardens–NZ", 6x9, watercolor

As I said, Wellington is a city of hills.  And the design of the 62 acres of the Wellington Botanic Garden takes full advantage, featuring beautiful plants, shrubbery and flowers spilling down the hillside towards views of downtown and the bay. 

We took the cute funicular railroad from the city up to the garden.  Unfortunately, the day had started out gray and was now really beginning to look like rain.  So I headed immediately to search for a spot to paint, and Chris set off to explore the garden.   He took these photos of the winding trails lined with flowers while I started sketching.  It soon started to sprinkle, and by the time Chris found his way back to me it had begun to rain in earnest.  I quickly gathered up my things and–holding my pad of watercolor paper upside down to try to keep my painting from getting wet–we made a run for the cafe.  We got drenched on the way, but I managed to keep my painting pretty dry.  You can see a few water drops in the dark green on the left and the brown tree on the right.  I finished the painting in the warm dry cafe while enjoying a delicious cappuccino.





–Linda

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Wellington Bay–New Zealand"

"Wellington Bay-NZ" 6x9 watercolor

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is on the southern tip of the north island. It's on the shores of a protected harbor with views across the azure water to green hills and blue mountains in the distance.  I painted this sitting in a park bench on the waterfront, on a very windy gray day.

Wellington reminded me a lot of San Francisco with well maintained houses perched on rounded green hills.  Our driver, Colin showed us how some of the homes have such a steep access to the access road, that they have a garage built into the bottom of the hill and a mini gondola that brings people and groceries up the hill to the house.  Where, of course, they have spectacular views like this.






–Linda
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