Friday, May 29, 2009

No Wake Zone


    The rains have set in here in South Florida, so I have been working in the studio lately. No Wake Zone, 24x24, oil/canvas is the result of my efforts. I painted it while holding on to the  Italian phrase " il dolce far niente " or, " the sweetness of doing nothing "...  time well spent, in my opinion.

  The photo I took one afternoon last Summer, provided the info I needed to work on the glowing effects of the sun as it reflected on the water and backlit the idle guys. I used a limited palette and enjoyed the challenge of  finding and combining the neutrals with the "glow" in what I hope is a harmonious manner.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reaching Out

   These large old trees seemed to be growing out as opposed to up, hovering close to the ground with their protective canopies and keeping each other in check. The early afternoon sun lit up the trees inner foliage in this 9x16, oil/linen panel.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day Five

                                                         Fourth & Broad

      We had lucked out with four beautiful days of painting in North Alabama, so the Friday morning thunderstorms were an opportunity to see things differently and to stop chasing shadows. Local Artists, Craig Reynolds and his wife Estra  were kind enough to share the awning at the corner Pawn Shop where they were already set up, dry and painting. They were in the front looking down Broad Street and I was on the side looking across toward the old Print Up Hotel.

    My first composition had an old pickup truck sitting at the corner behind the street sign... it looked like it had been sitting there for a while. Once I had my pallet set up and with brush in hand, I looked up to see it was gone! I should have known.. I have yet to paint a boat that didn't set sail. However, it was fortuitous once I saw the trolly pull up and realized it would  be there every half hour. His scheduled and on-time visits gave me all the info I needed  for the trolly while finishing in between his stops the watered down street scene in Fourth & Broad, 12x12, oil/linen panel.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day Four

                                                          Condo On The Coosa
                                                               Coosa Sunrise

     Since I didn't take any photos of Day Three, painting the historic neighborhoods, I will go to Day Four... painting on The Coosa River. The Coosa , a major energy source for these parts, moves like a slow Southerner as it meanders through Gadsden. It provides scenic beauty, recreation and is home for an abundance of wildlife, both in the River and in its backwaters.

   I was envisioning painting a sunrise here all week having been greeted every morning by a clear and welcoming sunrise. This day, however, was a gray drive all the way there... until I parked and got out with my easel... the clouds parted and I had a two minute window to get set up in record time and quickly blocked in the rising sun and its reflection. Working on a panel toned with orange and with a minimal pallet plus the addition of Holbien's Grey of Grey, I was able to get the proper tones of the sky before the clouds overtook and calmed the glow. Then it was a matter of putting in the darkest parts of the landscape to give me the info I needed to bring Coosa Sunrise, 12x12, oil/linen panel, all together as the morning got brighter.

   My second painting of the day is Condo On The Coosa, 12x12, oil/linen panel. I wanted to make this overlooked old building with its pink rose bush take center stage over the landmark Broad Street Bridge in the background. Very few people knew of its provenance as the ticket booth for the Alabama Princess Riverboat that once gave rides up and down the Coosa.

   While I was rapidly painting Coosa Sunrise, I was mildly aware of a few vehicles parked at the dock where I was painting... apparently people taking in the sunrise, a few waiting to fish. As I was packing up my days work later that afternoon a white SUV pulled up beside me. The driver told me she had sat there for a while that morning watching me paint. She picked up her three young sons at school and brought them down to see the artist painting. Her middle son, she told me, is autistic... he couldn't write his name but he could draw beautifully anything you put in front of him. I was only too happy to show them the paintings I had with me as he then held out some little drawings for me to see. This experience totally made this trip worthwhile as well as confirming the value of having plein air painters visible in the community.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day Two

Vineyard Gold

The second day of painting was held at Wills Creek Vineyard, where they make Muscadine Wine. It is located in the beautiful valley of Duck Springs.. unless you are a local who is holding on to your proud Southern heritage, then it is in Duck Sprangs... my preferred pronunciation, by the way.

I arrived at the vineyard shortly after sunrise, with the first light taking a glowing chunk out of the mountain and casting long shadows across a pasture. My first painting was a pastel, 8x16 of that pasture with its shadows and a stand of trees in the distance. Since I don't have a photo of Duck Springs Sentinels, I will tell you,... it was outstanding!

My second painting of the day is Vineyard Gold, 12x20, oil/canvas panel. It is still early for the Muscadine Vines, so their leaves were just beginning to pop out. Standing on a rise to the side of the vineyard, I could see a field of glowing yellow wild flowers through another stand of trees. This photo was taken on site while still on my Take-it-Easel, the clip is showing at the top. This is a wonderful easel for working in the field since it is virtually topple proof, even with my umbrella attached. It is a remake of the Glouster Easel and will accommodate a large canvas.

It was a great day painting in the open valley. Even after consuming six bottles of water, I still felt dehydrated by the intense sun. Stopping at the gas station on the Chattanooga Highway that I used to ride my bicycle to, I of course, got a 32 ounce Coke on ice and had it finished before I got home.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day One

                                                               Wild Azalea

                                                              Little Falls

     The week I spent painting in the Alabama Plein Air Festival was really fantastic. It was a well thought out event with a different location chosen for each day. I did nine paintings and met a terrific group of painters. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in the momentum that I didn't photograph all my paintings nor did I properly photograph the ones I took! Nonetheless, here is my first day's work painted at Noccalula Falls....

   When I heard this would be our first location, I immediately thought of how much I loved going down into the gorge of the Falls as a teenager... I even knew of a "secret" trail! With my Soltek, back pack and Raymar panel carrier strapped to my shoulders I set out for the 45 minute hike down the rocky trail into the gorge and to my envisioned destination. My youthful enthusiasm was amused by the realization that this hike was a heck of a lot easier when I was 18... but I was not disappointed by the effort. It was unbelievably beautiful down there and I went directly to my spot where I did Little Falls, 8x10, oil/linen panel. The emotional connection I felt by just being there made this painting a blast to do. This waterfall was one of three  tucked into the rocky ravine that tumbles down here in the canyon.

  I could have spent the week at this one location but I simply packed up and got off the rock I was standing on in the middle of the running water and painted Wild Azalea, a 6x8, oil/linen panel. From this spot, I could see the ravine with its waterfalls to my left and the rapids of the creek rolling with intensity from all the Spring rains to my right. This day was going to be a hard act to follow!!...