Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Mackerel Sky show made YouTube!

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

"Twist and Shout" Plein Air, 9x9 inches, Williamston MI...

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

"Daybreak Lotus Beds At Trempleau Reserve" Plein Air, Near Lacrosse, WI 9x12

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

"Beyond the River's Edge" Plein air, 11x14 inches, salmon running through the river, big ones – thirty pounders, and fishing bodies drifting along trying to seduce the monsters onto a hook...

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

"Three Swamp Sisters" Plein Air, favorite swamp...

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.

"Fleeting" Plein Air, fast moving weather in April demanded play and resolve...

"Door County Bay and Sky" Plein Air, done last May, I'll be back for the Invitational Door County Plein Air Competition, see below...

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 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", 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