Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thorson Farm Road

Hard to believe that July is almost over. And that the opening at Center Gallery in Glen Arbor is in 12 days. In the spirit of NOT putting off everything off until the last minute I actually have a head start on the framing. I think I have 11 pcs framed out of the 27 or 28 I am taking up for the show. While it may not sound like 11 pcs is a solid head start, in "artist time" it actually is. I have all the frames except for 6 and one that I keep changing my mind about!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I did it AGAIN. Will I ever learn?

I am on my 3rd palette in 5 days. The first one which I used for over a year met its demise somewhere on the East Beltline last week. My last conscious memory of that palette was putting it on top of my car as I was loading up from painting at Meijer Gardens. I replaced it on Monday just before heading up north for 4 days of painting. Long story short, palette number 2 took a flyer at 55 mph on M22 between Glen Haven and Glen Arbor. At least I saw its spectacular connection with the pavement from my rearview mirror, and fortunately for once, no one from Chicago or Detroit was tailgating me. Am now fully committed to not putting anything further on top of my car as I pack up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Watercolor Waterlilies

Headed over to Meijer Gardens this afternoon for an hour of sketchbook work. They have kind of a cool thing going right now called "Monet the Gardener". While they didn't try to reproduce his garden, they basically drew inspiration from his use of color, texture and plant combinations. Really what Monet themed garden wouldn't have at least a few waterlilies? These lilies were up in the waterfall section of the garden. This all prima sketch was done with minimal drawing; just a few pencil lines to get the lilies in generally the right location.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One Hour Challenge Result Show

Thought I'd post the result of the One Hour Challenge. Even though I lightened the painting up with photoshop in the previous post, the image seemed dark in contrast with the field. Anyway here is the finished 9x12 painting.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The One Hour Challenge

Happy 5th of July. I am happy to report we've survived another summer Holiday without the neighbors accidently torching our house through their use of alcohol and fireworks.

Headed out for a little plein aire today with fellow painter Frank Speyers. In an effort to spend more time painting, less time driving we headed over to Lowell and settled in a farm field along the Grand River for the afternoon. The second painting of the day was a One Hour Challenge. For you foodies, think Iron Chef with paint and no cheesy chairman. The beauty of the one hour format as far as I am concerned is that it takes the pressure to produce a masterpiece off. Seriously, if it ends up being a disaster you can totally wiggle out of it by saying to yourself, "well, I only had an hour." By setting a time limit you force yourself to work quickly and you begin to build a confidence with the brushes and paint, after all you have to cover the whole surface with paint or its a disqualification. I haven't really got the whole self DQ thing figured out yet, like what my penalty should be. Maybe knocking 5 minutes off the next attempt. Anyway the painting shown here in the field was completed in 55 minutes, including talk-time with the farmer who came out to turn the hay over to dry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Trouble with June

is everywhere you look its green, green green! But with my newly honed sense of the careful observation (remember I just did the Shils Guerilla Bootcamp for painters) its not JUST a green field, but a problem to be solved. This particular problem presented itself Sunday June 28th when a group of plein aire peeps headed out to the Saul Lake Bog Preserve. As this was my first trip out there I wasn't sure what to expect. What I didn't expect was all the GREEN. It was everywhere with not a structure in sight. Not even a fence post! My first clue should have been the word Preserve. Duh. Don't get me wrong this is a beautiful site and I've already been back, but I'd just come off of a pretty intense workshop where I was looking pretty carefully at structures in the landscape. My response to all of this green was to make this an accurate paint mixing experience. Once I had the plan in my head as how to solve the problem of all that green, the painting became more about the poetry of paint vs. the image.

I've been meaning to update about the workshop and just haven't had the time. Came back to a mountain of freelance and have been trying to dig my way out ever since. Three Pines Studio in Cross Village hosted the workshop. They arranged housing for those of us who needed it; the place I stayed was amazing. It was a lovingly restored farm on Division Road. The property owners have turned some of the outbuildings into vacation rentals. The building that I stayed in was an old grain mill. Joanne and Gene of Three Pines really outdid themselves as far as hospitality goes. We were greeted on Sunday night with a fabulous dinner of poached salmon, pork tenderloin, a rustic bean salad and my favorite; little red peppers stuffed with blue cheese, and wine. Throughout the course of the workshop, the Condino/Recks made sure we never went hungry or thirsty for that matter.

The nuts and bolts of the workshop started on Sunday night at dinner with intros all around. Right after dinner the Stuart Shils experience began in earnest with a 2 hour slide lecture comparing and contrasting painters throughout history. Monday morning began with breakfast promptly at 8:15. By 9:30 we were in in the field. A short break for lunch and then back at it. Dinner, and then another slide lecture. Shils really "shows up" for these workshops. He is incredibly well-versed in the history of art and art-making and armed with an arsenal of slides/presentations. I would have to say that he sets a high bar for those who step forward. After three days of painting, on the last day at 4:15, he looked at the painting I was working on and said, "You've got a nice painting going there". I wanted to get that in writing. Shils isn't one to give praise arbitrarily, in fact I definitely wouldn't say that he coddles the sensitive ego. But, when he does critique, its always with a fair and objective eye. It is my opinion that he really is looking to help develop the skill of the careful observation and that by being fair in his assessment of the work, he does his participants the biggest favor of all. In short, I would have to say that that workshop was invaluable to me and am ready to sign up for next years offering.

And one last thing, it was really inspiring to be in the company of all these talented people who came together for this workshop. Hi to Lori, Patricia, Kate, and Jim. You know who you are.........