Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Sand Road Park", Door County, WI
The weather on the peninsula is varied and with so many beautiful places to paint, it's pretty easy to work around whatever happens. I was interested in the light, the water effects and subtlety of color in this "widie". 

Painting in this area for the last week with a painting in the morning before my friend wakes up, and one in the evening is not nearly enough to satisfy my curiosity about all the magic here, the wilder areas are especially attractive, and even with the bloom of biting bugs in the last few days, call for extended work. 

Between painting we've toured around the peninsula, and done a bit of research for the coming invitational competition in this area about three weeks from now. Yikes, it's coming up quickly. 

One of the challenges here is the contrast of man-made and wild subjects. The wilder subjects are most to my tastes and style, but the human components function as anchors for the viewer – a way into the painting. As with gardens they dictate more and allow less free handling. 

Am heading out now to explore just such an opportunity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"City Sanctuary", plein air pastel on dark Wallis sandpaper, 14 June 2009.

Painting the garden has been a combination of fun and extraordinary challenge. Verbalizing the difficulty with fellow painters has raised the issues involved and helped pinpoint them. The design is already done. There is a wild variety of shape/color/pattern issues that both limit artistic interpretation and force compliance of some sort for there to be a rendering at all. The color swaths also add a potential compositional hazard but are required in order to anchor the subject in reality. There's a lot going on. Because there are so many shapes/patterns/edges, the effects of the sun traveling is much more apparent than when in nature a plant community is rarely isolated to a handful of specimens and also limited to a handful of species. There is a formalized aspect of the garden space that again is predetermined and limits/compells the design making artistic processing much more convoluted and risky for the final interpretation to be successful.

And, so, today I learned something important about getting the work done in a garden. Use the rectangles. Working in my currently happy format of very wide, and wider, I'm finding that the inherent rectangles of the garden can be used to structure the shapes in my painting compositions to my advantage. It is more geometric and much less organic, so be it. Leverage these things. 

As Robert Genn has said many times about showing up for the work and finding one's way, today's painting showed me how to wrangle the rectangle into a subordinate position that helps the composition rather than hacking away at it.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A few minutes to tune these up and they may work nicely, though standardizing is still only partially settled – the long lovely format is too much fun and a great challenge to compose with. The 9x12s are working, but many other formats are way too ordinary for my tastes at the moment.

Here are a few pieces from the last week or so...

"Peony Pop", Cooley Gardens in peak peony form. This is 4x18 and will go into the exhibition for the July 11 sale and auction. I'm heading out again in a moment to paint there now, rain likely later so one moves with the weather and bloom.

First things first; posting from on location is proving to be difficult. A week in Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore we stayed at cottages without wireless and so, the focus remained on painting rather than blogging. All well and good since the body of work now has another boatload of plein air and a new subject. 

"Peterson Road Lakeshore", nice little 9x12 done one chilly morning before the tourist season hit. Though painting among the crowds is part of the training for the upcoming Door Competition (see the right sidebar or prior posts.)
"Overshadowed", Betsey Bay Lighthouse Nature Conservancy property, lovely dunes that were saved before much impact had occurred to their natural order. Another 12x9 with gouache ... a couple of falls into the sand and I have enough debris in the gouache palette for another year!