Saturday, April 19, 2014

Another Plein Air Event in FL

3/29/14 - first plein air sketch of the day - Jupiter, FL

3/29/14 - the start

3/29/14 - 2nd plein air sketch of the day

3/29/14 - plein air sketches displayed outside of gallery for judging
3/29/14 - 3rd study of the day

One week after winning the Quick Draw competition for the Lighthouse Art Center, I enter another plein air event.  This one was hosted by A Unique Art Gallery, which was also in Jupiter, FL.  This was just a one-day event, and they did not have a Quick Draw category, so I just painted.   It threatened to rain all day, but I managed to do 3 studies before I had to return the work to the gallery for judging.  The paintings were displayed on the easels, which were lined up outside of the gallery.  Then, we all piled into the gallery for the awards ceremony and celebration, as the skies opened up with a massive thunderstorm.   I won an Honorable Mention!  :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Plein Air Festivals in Florida 2014

3/23/14 - DuBois Park in Jupiter, FL - Quick Draw Competition
3/23/14 - in progress at DuBois Park

3/23/14 - Framed piece at Lighthouse Art Center

3/23/14 - Awards Ceremony at Lighthouse Art Center 
For the 3rd year in a row, I've headed down to Florida in March and April  to teach a few plein air workshops.  While I was there this year, I decided to participate in a couple of plein air festivals.  Because I was too late to sign up for the 4-day festival, the only thing open to me was the "Quick Draw".  In a "Quick Draw", anyone can register and participate.  At check-in, the officials stamp the back of your panel, paper, or canvas to make sure that artists are not pre-painting or pre-drawing, and that all work is done within the time limit.   Because I paint fast anyhow, the Quick Draw was very appealing to me.  The location was predetermined, and all artists began at the same time.  

Originally, I was going to paint the lighthouse, but I chose to paint a couple, instead, who were reading under some palm trees.  The way the light played on the trees and the figures was delightful.  When the horn sounded, all artists had to stop painting, go to the art center, and frame their painting, which would later be judged.  After dropping off my painting, I headed back to the beach to play in the waves.  

An awards ceremony was held later that day, and to my great delight, I took First Place in the Quick Draw!! I didn't realize that most of the people would be dressed up, so I was still in my painting clothes.  It was a lovely surprise, and it was great fun!  To make it even more magical, the painting sold at the opening!!  Hooray!

Note to self:  If I get to do this again, I will be sure to bring along a dress...just in case :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Well, I've never tried this before, but here goes... auctions.  In the beginning of February, I decided to try to sell a few little paintings on my own.  I joined Daily Paintworks, a site for artists where you can upload all sorts of paintings and drawings.  The site allows you to sell work using different methods, and one of them is the auction.  I've added works, at amazing discounts, using Buy it Now buttons and Buy on Etsy buttons, so I figured I would try the auction, too.  So far, it is really hard to get noticed.  There are tons (really) of artists selling on this site.  

The thing that is appealing about selling this way is you don't have to frame the painting.  Ah, for me, that's a relief.  I am constantly switching frames from one painting to another to avoid having to buy more.  Not having to frame something is great.  The buyer can frame it as they see fit...perfect.

Here is one little painting that I just put on auction.  It is a 6" x 8" oil on panel that was painted plein air in Deerfield Beach, FL.  I did upload a picture of me painting it on the DPW site, but I don't see it, so I will post that here, too.

I am heading down to FL again to teach a couple of workshops in landscape painting, so I am sure that I will have many more studies soon.  If you are interested in the class, let me know.  

Here is the link to my "gallery" of affordable paintings on Daily Paintworks.  Thanks for supporting living artists! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Girls with Curls

Sporadically, someone will ask if I ever make videos, so I thought I would  try out a little test.  Since I painted a couple self-portraits with curls and bows, I got out my ipod and filmed looking into the mirror, then showing you my painting in progress.  My thought was that I would take a couple of videos, and you could see the whole process.  However, I was getting frustrated with my first attempt, and wiped out the painting.  But, here's a 25 second video.  

The point is...never take yourself too seriously, and never be afraid to wipe out a painting.  Painting is a life-long journey of discovery.  Learn from mistakes, and keep the old adage, "When at first you don't succeed....try, try again", in mind.  In my experience, add a few more "tries" to that quote.  Happy Painting!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Alla Prima Self-Portraits...Again

I paint directly without drawing on the panel

Color notes start right away

Massing the shadows, massing the lights, and testing the value range

Thinking planes 
My daughter showed up for lunch, and she took this picture with her iPhone 

I have battled curly hair my whole life.  Normally, I wrestle it into submission with hair clips and a flat iron, and it looks pretty respectable.  However, neat hair makes for mundane  painting.  So, for the last couple of days, I have let the curls win and painted some fun self-portraits.  

To make this one more interesting, I tied a ribbon around my head and set the bow at a jaunty angle.  Corny, but effective.  I placed the mirror (I paint looking in the mirror) by the easel, and the skylight illuminated one half of my face.  The curly bangs formed a nice cast shadow across my forehead.  

Here I am looking in the mirror...ready to start

Alla prima demands quick decisions.  It allows me the freedom to react, build, change, and enhance the painting as I move along.  It is drawing with the brush, and the head emerges out of the background and into the background creating depth and mystery.  This painting is on a small gessoed panel (9"x6") that has a gray tone.   

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More Winter Painting in Gouache & Watercolor

Winter Sunset - 5.5" x 9.25" - watercolor & gouache on location

Sunshine & Shadows - 5.75"x9" - watercolor & gouache on location

Vermont is a beautiful place to live.  I have lived here since 1979, and most of the plein air studies I do are painted close to home in and around the Cambridge/Jeffersonville area.  Sometimes, I don't have to go far at all, because the best views are right in your own backyard!  This was the case in the 2 little watercolor and gouache studies shown above that I just painted. 

My property sits down below the road, which means that at sunset my house is in shadow, but the sun skims over the hill and dramatically blasts into the trees.  I love this light!  In the top painting, the sun is coming from the right, but in the bottom painting, the sun is more flat light, which is always challenging. 

Although I paint in oils, I have been doing these little plein air studies in watercolor and gouache for years.  I started back in the 70s, after buying a book on Turner's Early Sketchbooks.  Turner made zillions of studies for larger paintings using this sort of technique, and I find painting like this  enormously satisfying.  There is an immediacy to working this way, which is extremely helpful when painting under fast-changing conditions.  Also, their portability can't be beat.  

I haven't offered too many of them for sale, although I have occasionally  sold some in galleries.  Most of them I keep as notes for larger paintings.  Since I have been rethinking brick and mortar galleries, I have decided to sell some small studies myself and let galleries handle larger paintings.  These little paintings can then be offered  unframed and at a discount.

So, if you get a chance, visit my Etsy Store, or Daily Paintworks to see more.  Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winter Painting

As much as I love painting outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall, I still have issues with painting outdoors in the winter.  Last January, when 2 women painters from ME (Renee Lammers & Suzanne Brewer) were visiting Jeffersonville, VT, I painted with them.  We painted in 2 different spots in Waterville.  Here are a couple of pictures of one of my paintings and my set-up.  I am painting along the Lamoille River, just off of Hogback Road.

Although it was cold, I could still manage to paint.  This was late afternoon, and as the sun dipped lower,  the watercolor and gouache which was  in thin washes in the enamel tray palette started to freeze, and the water in the brush started to freeze, as well.  That is when I called it a day.  But, I was still pleased with the results and patted myself on the back for braving the cold and painting.

So, I decided to stop whining and go outside and do a few snowscapes this winter.  I loaded my watercolor and gouache supplies in a backpack, parked my car, and hiked a little ways and set up.  The snow by the river was much deeper than I thought it would be, and by the time I got to where I wanted to paint and stamped down an area to work in, I was already cold.  

I quickly sketched out where I wanted things to go and started to paint.  To my amazement, the paint rolled into little ice balls.  These ice balls refused to stick to the paper.  What?  I kept trying for a while, but it got worse.  The watercolor supplies went back in my backpack, and I try drawing, instead.  By the time I got to this point, my fingers were completely frozen...especially my thumbs.  Apparently, thumbs are pretty important, and I couldn't draw either.  After these 2 lame starts, I packed everything back up and retreated to the car to thaw out.  

With the heat on in the car, I thawed out and so did my brush, which had a solid ice core.  The view wasn't what I originally intended, but that's OK.  Painting out the window of my car was better than not painting at all.  So, here are a couple of pictures of what I did before heading home for a nice, hot cup of tea.

Where there's a will, there's a way.  I guess my way of winter painting is best done from my car.  Thanks for visiting.