“Intersection at Walnut Ave.”
oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches
Yesterday, I scrambled to get to Walnut Ave. to paint the light and the tree covered street. This street is historical in that all of the homes are old Victorian “painted ladies.” The street is like stepping into a painting with neatly trimmed landscaping, blooming blossoms and dappled light everywhere.
I picked a difficult one, yesterday. Dappled light is something I have never done before . . . .so I can see I have much to learn.
This piece presents one of those interesting space division challenges . . . .and am not sure that it really works that well. What I have in mind is a much more subdued sort of lighting, but the way the sun was reflecting off the pavement yesterday was dazzling. I had to use every bit of the little I understand about aerial perspective and color, as well as edges, to make this little painting work.
I have resolved to visit again, perhaps today, to consider a different angle of attack and a different composition. I still itch to capture that which is in my mind. I may never quite get there, but the practice is most precious. I can feel a few gains in understanding from yesterday’s experience. I hope I can capitalize on that.
oil on cavas panel, 8″ x 10″
This last weekend, I participated in a plein aire event organized by the local art museum. It is a fun event and turned out to be nicely profitable in many ways for me. Not that you care about that part, but I did get to meet and talk with some very uniquely talented and thoughtful artists. . . . . . and that alone was worth the time spent. I sold five of my paintings and made a few solid contacts for future business. The event attracts a very knowlegeable and informed crowd who are not only interested in art, but willing and able to acquire pieces for their collections.
On the last day of the show, which runs Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, the museum holds a “Quick Draw” competition. I had planned not to take part, but in the end organized my stuff and went for it. Long story short, the artists check in to have their canvases stamped and signed at 8:30 AM. They are to choose a site, set up, paint and return to the museum with a finished painting by 11:00 AM. That is roughly 2 hours of painting time when one considers set up and take down of equipment. I actually had quite a few giggles in this little event . . . .and had an opportunity to step out of myself and see my real painting process.
As you can see by the resultant image, being rushed is not conducive to fine finished work . . . . . . . . . .which made me notice that I LIKE fine finished pieces. I could have spent another hour tweaking this painting and bringing out the aspects I wished to refine and show off. It also showed me that I could, do this and that in order to do so, I would just need to get used to “plowing through” to a conclusion . . . .what ever that was. I found it to be exciting! Moreover, it might be a discipline I should develop more in order to train myself to be more direct, less fussy and to refine my value and color perception so as to get colors and values correct on the first attempt.
A very valuable experience it was!
“Afternoon at the Firehole”
oil on linen panel, 8″ x 10″
When travelling, I have the constant urge to paint. I suppose it is the visual adventures that occur around every corner that excites the urge.
We are in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and touring the area to include the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. The internal summoning to the easel was gaining volume as was my frustration as the days have passed. I MUST PAINT ! Inside, I am thinking “If only for a few moments . . .!”
Yesterday, four of us (two couples) were driving through Yellowstone National Park, which is a doubly amazing place because there are so many unusual sights . . .erupting geysers . . . .steam bubbling from the ground . . . .magnificent rivers . . .Buffalo . . .Elk . . Moose . . . .Antelope. . . .gorgeous meadows . . . .waterfalls and much, much more. To top it off, it is the peak of Spring here. The grasses and wildflowers are lush and in full bloom. What an incredible time!!!
And so, I stopped to paint . . . .and you better paint FAST because there are other people who are waiting for you, Mike . . . . .so git r done . . .and don’t dawdle.
Standing in a 15 mph wind with gusts to 35 mph in the gorgeous light of the late afternoon, I opened my pochade box to find the paint had slid around inside of it and made a horrendous mess. There is paint everywhere but where it belongs. While cleaning the box and preparing it to paint, the wind is grabbing the easel and attempting to throw it into the meadow. There is buffalo fur all over the trees next to where I stand . . . . . .which means this is probably their bedding place . . .better watch out! The group is wanting to eat, to see other sites, but I must paint. So I did. Quickly, without remorse or reconsideration of a single stroke. Just get it done and do it quick.
What an absolute joy to look across the meadow, across the river and paint all that magnificent light !!! Even if it is nothing more that a fast arrangement of smudges and smears. I must shove the doubts away and take what I get in this emergency. Niiiiice! 🙂
Oil on canvas panel, 8″ x 10″
This little piece was done in about 90 minutes after digging out all my plein air equipment following a 6 plus month haiatus . . .(izzat how you spell it?)
Last year I participated in the local museum’s sponsored plein air event to raise money for the museum. It is a lovely event, though I wasn’t able to help the cause at all . . .no sales last year. I promised myself I would improve and do much better this year, but, alas, I let time get away from me . . . .and lo! it is upon me again!! I am not so sure that it is because we artists are flakey by nature, or that it wasn’t until a few mornings ago that all the dates for the event firmed up. but one thing is for sure. I am NOT READY! That means it feels like I am the rankest amateur in the entire group of 31 artists!!
For the last few days I have been working hard (labor!) around the house . . . .a close by forest fire prompted the work . . . . .to try to make things less apt to catch fire if a windborn cinder fell upon us. That meant cleaning ALL of the various organic stuff off our roof (Many surrounding trees here.) Three days of labor . . .no kidding! . . .scraping and sweeping and cleaning between every wooden shingle!
Anyway . . .I HAD to go paint today. We are leaving on a ten day vacation at the end of this week and this plein air event is demanding paintings before I leave . . .and I can’t give them something I painted last year!! Nope! It has to be stuff painted THIS WEEK!! Yikes!! So, I went to work . . . .physically spent from the last three days work and not caring if I produced much . . .but I HAD to do it. To limber up, if nothing else! So, the brushes came out and I went to work . . . . .but it was as familiar as Greek worry beads in my hands . . . have never held them!! . . . . .after painting these tight watercolors for the last few weeks, oil brushes felt foreign in my hands!!
So, here is today’s efforts, dear readers. A long time ago, I promised myself I would post all my efforts, good or bad. I already know this is amateur as hell, but feast your eyes anyway and know that failures are actually necessary in an artists’ life . . .they spur us forward and help us learn on the way. Cheers to failures, eh?!! 🙂