Thursday, December 03, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
She made them from felted old sweaters.
Tomorrow I paint a new site in town. It's near one I was working on last weekend. Both were passed along to me by a new painting bud, Doug D who I'll be joining tomorrow morning.
Last weekend, those funny spectators were out. The park has a well established frisbee golf course and regular players even at 8 in the morning. So I positioned myself in the middle of a lovely field and painted dead pines against the light.
After an hour and a half, a woman came trudging with her dog across the field, shouting "what are you doing?" I thought she was calling to the dog who could have used some management. But her discipline the dog voice was directed at me:
"What are you doing?"
"It's so ugly now, you should have been here in Oct...those trees over there were yellow ..."
And so it went for a while. She had posed herself in front of my view and the dog was yelping and lunging at me. I asked if she wanted to look at the painting.
"Oh, you added color that isn't there. Those trees are ugly."
And so on for a little while more until I asked if she'd like my card.
"Yes, then I can call you and tell you when it's pretty out."
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Four painters roamed for four days over the Door Peninsula the third week of October this year finding it cold, cloudy and often wet. Fortunately there are many ways to find shelter and this painting was from within a row a trees against which the wind buffeted.
The first morning I didn't set up due to continual rain that became increasingly dense. But the oil painters continued to work, some without cover, so it'll be interesting to see how that turns out. Being the only person working in pastels, I can't say if that was an advantage or no.
This sample of Uart brand sandpaper worked well enough for me to want to try it again soon. The paper was mounted and nicely flat, a light tone to it to start, took the washes well and dried at least as well as Wallis which was slow only because of the really high humidity.
These old apple trees were a persistent source of sculptural forms, even holding their fruits which ranged from brilliant yellows with carmine tints to deep lipstick reds which had even darker blushes of burgundy.
I also need to announce that the group of painters on this trip and I have launched a blog for the group. Please give us a few days and then see what happens ... there is a lot of energy and with everyone so attracted to the Driftless area, or from that region, we've named the site after it. See the links to the right for the Driftless 6/10 Blog.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Mid October presents another painting week in Door County with my painting buddies, yahoo! It will be beautiful though I haven't painted there so late in the year. This also presents a chance to work with the GPS markers I've planted over the last six months as painting sites.
I'm particularly interested in the sites I marked after the competition in July, when one of my new friends there walked me around and pointed out likely places. Many of the other sites are terrific and well tested.
The group will be dynamic and interesting as the range of talent is broad. Paint, paint, paint, crit, art talk and the next chorus is the same.
The gouache underpainting can be tough in winter weather, however, it pays off as a design tool for me beyond what a thumbnail can do. Thumbnails are great exercises and can produce good paintings, but my own do not excite me with the moment and the energy like an underpainting can. The potential handicap can be that I fall in love with the underpainting and am hesitant to obliterate it. Risk all to gain.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Back in town for a few weeks between trips I have been working to wrap up pieces that were part way through and needed to be completed. This is one that I did out of my window one late winter morning and set aside for quite a while. The raking light and complexity of the distant houses made it interesting but since it is small I wanted to wait until the energy of the thing returned. It did and was an easy completion.
That's when I know the design was right, the purpose was right and the painting worth waiting for.
The underpainting was quite detailed and nearly a painting in itself. That can be a worry, too much commitment too soon and the risk of what happens in the rest of the painting process can cause all sorts of "avoidies". That is what I call the design elements, strokes or color I've become attached to.
What happens in the beginning of a painting is different from the end, so this too much too soon thing means there sometimes is not enough psychic latitude when I return to one of these to see it as a whole.
This one worked out and is a nice story of the oak leaf remnants, emerging grass among dead, dead winter sop. It's hopeful the way that sunlight can be after a long winter. It has a lot going on and is still relatively simple. Interesting too that the sand paper is a dark tone rather than the white I usually prefer. Dark and light, it's always about that.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"Reclamation Pond, Dusk" Detail 6x18 inches, pastel and gouache on sandpaper.
This detail is one of several underpaintings I set myself up with to work on later. The goal is to set down the initial structure and go back, speed and decisiveness practice. This was painted last week, about Aug 17.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
"First Light", 3x18 inches, pastel and gouache.
Another long skinny from painting at the very formal Victorian garden in town, this one is probably sold, maybe sooner than later since I have two entities vying for it. What was fun with this painting is that blanched quality of light when it's so angular and bright and contrasts strongly with the equally angular shadows ... all with light touches of roses, bar berry and blue shadow colors.
And with this painting, there is a "going in and in" that people have described with some of my work. What I understand that to be is an effective illusion of space, detail, atmosphere.
Monday, July 27, 2009
"Shadows and Light: Perfect Moment" Pastel on Wallis with gouache underpainting, 9x12 inches.
The festival wrap up was yesterday so I'll post a summary to cover the week, photos here and there, therefore it'll be a longish one.
The painting above was highly energized, lots of interest while I painted it. It was done at the site I chose for my demo site. It's a real nice gallery in Sister Creek called Fine Line Designs and represents several of the artists invited for this competition. It could have sold five or six times this week – from the moment the preview opened at 5 pm on Friday until Sunday.
A very fun woman bought the piece at the preview auction and I'd had a lot of fun talking to her all week long, one of the palette sponsors who are an art committed group who purchased access to a number of extra events where we invited artists could talk and socialize with them.
Beginning on Sunday with stamping and ending the next Sunday at 2:30, the painting was full on, the events were full on and the people were full on...I didn't have time to see the other work until I walked the final two on Sunday!
Sales were good, I painted 16 or 17 paintings, even though working with an equipment handicap from Tuesday on. (Best laid plans.)
Kudos to the volunteers, staff, director and board members of the Peninsula School of Art, this event was incredibly complex, intense and entirely well organized. When the Tuesday disaster struck my equipment and I was without a working easel the school stood behind me and ordered a replacement along with helping me get back on my feet to paint. A really incredible group of people dedicated to art.
"Solitude" 12x16, pastel and gouache on Wallis. This painting was done the first evening and remains one of my favs though you're seeing it here as the photo on site which has shadows of grass across it. There are many incredible painting locations here which I didn't get to yet and will likely return to paint sometime late in the year – both winter and fall are said to be stunning.
This really was incredible and it really was intense – so much beauty and work.
I'll be staying with another host tonight and return home tomorrow. After that more info and photos from the event when I settle back in at home.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
"Ripening" 9x12 pastel on Wallis with gouache underpainting
Morning prior to getting stamped, this was a great blue barn and a fun story goes with my working on it. After a half hour, a woman on a bike stopped and we had a fun conversation about this location. She'd wanted to stop and photograph it and always found it attractive. Very fun and interesting conversation, sweet person. While talking to her, the owner of the farm came out and stopped to chat too. All before picking up the bright red t-shirts, name tag and red
Let the fun begin.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
... and a detail. Initially I was attracted to the clouds, but in the end focused lower down and let the clouds play a small role.
I'm here in Door a few days before the Plein Air Competition and have done a bit of scouting yesterday and today. There are so many beautiful locations here, lots of nature and big trees, but also lovely old buildings like the one that was a stage coach stop, ancient trucks, cranes and excavation equipment.
Stamping and registration begin tomorrow, time in the a.m. to evaluate another site. Problem is that the forecast changed radically this morning to nearly every day of the competition having a medium chance of rain. Weather is quite variable, so much for my hoping to plan out where and what and when I'm painting to make it easier.
The last two days I've hiked a good amount, but I think I'll end up painting near the car in most locations. My main concern is about rain scheduled for Saturday when the Quick Paint takes place.
Here's some of the sketches, orchards, water, buildings that could be interesting for Saturday, thumbnails all, but I cranked out a bunch.
Painting for the competition tomorrow, begins after stamping, noon to five.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Socks for my easel
The trick legs on my trick easel began having trouble after two years of working it hard. The manufacturer suggested that I pull off the feet and wash water up the legs to remove dirt. Did this twice but one leg still didn't hold it's position and was difficult to retract.
We took the worst leg apart, wiped it down, removed the worst offender – the screw used as a stop for the rubber foot – and it worked again. That aperture at the bottom of the leg is necessary, but what a hazard! The screw must have been just loose enough and the leg tilted just right. the screw had to roll just so and the easel carried in such a way for it to get in, stay in and work its way up to where it lodged.
I made some socks to protect the legs openings from dirt. Painting outdoors there will always be dirt. Problem solved.
Painting for others
Amazing to do, this painting for a target event or for other external objectives. My work will be featured at a fundraiser for a destination garden. This involves all manner of contract, aesthetic and painting issues. Good for learning, but I think the painting is suffering.
Looking forward to travel, next stop Sleeping Bear National Park
Three days staying with friends and painting, then four or five days working with my painting buddy in Sleeping Bear National Park ... after the holiday.
There's a swamp on my radar which will be a first choice. And, there are always the classics: beach and beach goers, shoreline, cedars, drive in theater and a few nocturnes. It all should keep me busy and get the painting back on track.
Other problems solved:
SPF clothing, rated 150 SPF and comfortable, hoping it also resists biting bugs – ticks are a bane but so is sunburn! And, painting for the Door Plein Air Festival will be in late July so the systems are being tested during the next three trips.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Just paint, that's the real deal. What a great way to paint. To avoid influences to paint like a hundred other people. A painting of "no second guessing" and no attachment to outcome, not trying to paint larger, or to a predictable venue, or even to accomplish a "keeper". Just paint.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"Hidden Valley Rain" Near Warm Springs Virginia
It indeed rained every day I was in this area but I snuck a couple of paintings in by setting up under a tree. The trip was to deliver paintings to my new gallery but hoping to paint the perfection of budded trees, Southern Magnolia, red bud and honey suckle, I tromped around every day. Photos will do, along with sketches back in the studio, to paint this lovely area in the Allegheny Mountains.
Warm Springs Gallery
The season is on and it's a juggle to get the business stuff tucked in between the painting work, there will be more posting now – the weather is on and the several painting trips will make for a painting intensive.
Here's my Mea Culpa for not publishing more frequently:
Included in the following shows:
•Emerald Spring Juried Exhibition at Emerald Art Center, Springfield, OR
•International Association of Pastel Societies Juried Exhibit at Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
•Pastel Painters of Maine Juried Exhibition at the Saco Art Museum, Saco, ME
•2009 National Juried Exhibition at Long Island Beach Foundation, Loveladies, NJ
Saturday, February 28, 2009
This is a lovely gallery and fine craft store whose owners are deeply kind, aesthetically and professionally savvy. You can see the video here and a link to it in the links section right. Oh, yes, the show is selling well, three more since the opening.
Friday, February 20, 2009
This painting is from the favorite swamp for a couple of years spanning 2006/07. The painting was an opportunity to isolate and simplify, something I didn't find easy when I initially was confronted with this subject.
The swamp was packed with mature trees and had been initially a woodland that was wet, became boggy and later was flooded as part of a county drain commission project to direct farm runoff.
Beautiful light on the tree forms, from the period of my peak painting here...
This information was given me by locals over the course of the first few months of painting there.
A condo project very nearby and a small subdivision within a half mile leads to walkers and bikers along the adjoining roadway. When painting here, my set up is highly visible me accessible to the local exercise gang.
I eventually heard the pieces of history that explained why there were so many large trees in such a wet location as well as why the trees in the far half of the swamp had been "topped", their upper third broken off – tornado.
This close looking and seeing, which are a large part of painting en plein air, and what a friend of mine says would make me a good biologist, also feed my curiosity in ways that distinguish me in conversations – people simply do not notice the world around them.
But I've found that folks do notice when the details of beauty are present in a familiar subject but interpreted, focused upon. Reading how the brain works, how the nervous system functions, and the tracks of evolution and perception's biases, leads me to see an artist's successful isolation, composition and deployment of their materials as far more complicated than I would have thought...the things we do easily appear less complicated.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This is a painting from my Mississippi River trip last August. Painting at Trempleau Reserve was remarkable. Oak savana on the way in, then these dense interfaces with the Mississippi River and lushness everywhere. Trees filled with Egrets, the surface of the water sparkling with pelicans, lotus, other waterfowl. We listened to Sora Rails giggle and painted as the sun came up.
Using my usual approach, it was a hard painting to start, a distracting amount of beauty. The gouache underpainting was lively and had a light touch, so I proceeded slowly and ultimately left quite a bit of it showing.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
This is a painting I did on the Lower Platt River in Sleeping Bear National Park Lakeshore. The weather was unusually warm, in the high seventies, and painting was therefore fun. So many beautiful spots that one could spend more time than the four days I was there. However, considering how much I ate it's surprising how much I painted! Could be the other way around too. At any rate, I painted from dawn to dusk for four days and then was wined and dined every evening. I couldn't ask for more than that, and the painting was really satisfying, a delight to do.
Here's a photo from that trip, taken by a friend from across the pond. They were on the Betsey Rail Trail, a popular walking and biking trail. It seemed like I was somewhat concealed, but apparently not since there were a number of walkers and riders pointing, gasping, whispering, and casting furtive looks...maybe it was the location or the trousers.
Friday, February 13, 2009
The show is hung, wheew! Web site is updated and finally I get time for the blog updating...and for developing a system that makes my posting more regular.
"Endlessness" Plein Air, clouds are always available and they teach me to be decisive...
The title of the show is "Jewels in the Landscape: the delicacy of form, color and spirit". My lesson from this show is Standardize or Die! Still, I fell in love with several of the unusual formats such as an exaggerated landscape format, very long and skinny.
Here are several of the long skinny clouds I've included in the exhibit.
This last year was a good year, I hit a lot of target goals, so I was remiss in blogging, but below are highlights. You can check out my pastelfish.com site for more info, events and publications will soon have links to more Door County info:
• Selected invitee, "Door County Invitational Plein Air Competition, Auction & Exhibition" 07/09
• Solo Show, Mackerel Sky Gallery, East Lansing Feb/March 09
• Featured artist "Art As Response", CreateBetterPaintings.com magazine 07/08
• Honorable mention, "HHAL National Exhibit" Hilton Head SC, 05/08
• "Jack Richeson's 75 Small Works" book Fall/08
• "Workshop Scholarship Award", Scottsdale Artists School 03/08
• "Jack Richeson's Artist Choice" book, due summer 08