Friday, September 13, 2013

Another Paint-Out

Adams Farm, Oil on Linen, 11x14
Last Saturday I participated in the Adams Farm Paint Out in Walpole, MA,  for which 26 other artists were involved.  The painting on the left indicates the typically beautiful scenery available at the site.  As usual in setting up the landscape on canvas, one has to simplify.  The meadow between the barn and myself was rich in its wildflower display, requiring some generalization of color areas in the middle plane.  There was a small pond in the foreground and, happily, the shadows cast by nearby trees.  After a lunch break I began a second canvas.

Path by the Milkweed, Oil on Canvas, 11x14
The scene before me, dappled shadow on a trail, with milkweed, and an old tree by a bend in the path off to the left, suggested a looser treatment for its development.  there were distant figures (barely discernible)  which I added to the painting appearing beyond the bend, but the painting was rich in texture, showing much use of my trusty palette knife.
After completing this painting, I framed it to display in the barn for judging by the eminent painter Robert Douglas Hunter.  No prize for this one, but it was certainly fun to paint and to hone one's skills in plein air.

Off  Beavertail, Oil on Canvas, 11x14
 This painting (left) enabled me to get back to my favorite subject, the sea.  I had to exercise simplification even here.  There were many more rocks than shown here, but I retained the most noticeable boulders.  (In fact, I hope those students who painted with me at this spot last month will recognize the large rock formation on the left!)

At Save the Bay, Oil on Canvas, 8x10
This small pochade was done as I sat along a trail on the upper Narragansett Bay in 35-mph gusts.  With pochade box on my lap I reorded the scene before me.  No one would guess that this is Providence territory!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More Summer Activity

  The two small paintings above (both 5x7 in) were accomplished using my pochade box, a useful device to have on hand especially when weather is threatening or your time constraints are too tight.  The box I use is a wooden one made for size 6 x 8 paintings, a more common size found overseas than here.  I prefer painting on the slightly larger 6 x 8 surface, but finding frames for that size is not as easy as finding 5x7 (plein-air) frames.  Paintings this size can be a delight to do since the painter is more likely to take risks with this rather than larger sizes.  (As one painter once told me:  "Small painting, small mistakes; big painting, big mistakes.)  More practical is the time element. A painter can complete these in 20 -45 minutes.  Moreover, as the first painting suggests, we can keep to the poster effect if the intention is to use the 5x7 as a reference for a larger studio work.  In any case, it seems like a good idea to keep a 5x7 plein-air gold frame handy just in case -- just in case the small study turns out to be a keeper!

This 11 x 14 oil is a study done in the local park of  trees and rocks.  As you can see I was fascinated with the play of light, the dappled shadows on the rock.  I may have gotten carried away by dappling the trees too much!  But the painting did serve its primary purpose as a study and a practice for this painter to compare values and achieve realistic coloring .

The painting on the left, an 8x10 oil, represents the dunes by Crane Beach.  While at Crane Beach a week ago, I took the opportunity to sketch some of the beauty in watercolor.  The watercolor became the prime reference (next to memory) for the painting shown here.  The painting is quite juicy., mostly palette-knife work in which the foreground show creeping afternoon shadows.  The Ipswich area is rich in painting venues and I hope to be up that way in the fall.  And it's right next to Plum Island and Newbury Port -- both fair game to the plein-air painter.

     I have some small works being shown at Java Madness at Salt Pond in Wakefield, RI until mid-September.