Celebrating a 35th anniversary (actually last year), Sharon and I went to New Mexico so I could do some plein air painting. First stop was Santa Fe, NM where I painted just outside the city limits at the Randall Davies Home Audubon Society site. I sat down on a stone and painted this watercolor, a forest with path --- 5 X 7". Then we drove to Taos, NM and stayed at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. It's a great place to stay with several beautiful living rooms, great breakfast and dining area. I recommend it. I took a chair with me to the road just behind the MD Luhan House to paint. I hate to say it, but actually I was trespassing by about 20 feet into Taos Pueblo. No harm though. I painted for about an hour and a half on an 11 X 14" page in watercolor. I took along a very small Winsor Newton traveling watercolor kit --- very small. However the poing is, use quality materials and you don't need a whole lot to do nice work. Since we flew in and I didn't want to risk taking oil paints, I decided to do watercolor. Our room had a small balcony and I was able to do a couple watercolors of the mountains from there, and then a couple around the campus of the Dodge House. They host workshops; some for writers, artists, yoga and whatever else -- you'd have to go to their website. Finally we visited relatives in Albuquerque -- no painting there, just fun.
Years ago I was one of the artists at Talisman Gallery in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and sold regularly. Then retirement came for the owner and her children weren't interested in continuing the gallery. Try as I might I haven't been able to find another gallery and gradually just quit looking. And with some distress I recently threw out all my rejection letters. Now I just do gallery shows and shows with my art guild. My wife has become friends with the woman who works at City News Cafe in Chicago. She found out I do art and asked if I wanted to put some pieces up in the magazine store, City News (same place). As we all know, people coming in for coffee or magazines are not there to buy art. I used to do some Mall shows -- same thing --- people at the mall are there to buy shoes, shirts and jeans, not art. OK, So I brought 7 pieces; two landscapes, two still lifes, a double portrait, a street scene and a horse. They show a really good variety of what I can do, not that anyone walking in the store will notice ---- well, I take that back --- I had two friends see them and one did remark about how I was able to handle a variety of subjects. They've been up two weeks and so far no comments or questions for me, but then I understand the bigger question --- who's there for art? All that aside, I'm glad to have them there and I always appreciate someone wanting to hang my work.
This is actually Pancake Breakfast at Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, Illinois. Since I had painted the same aspect of Emily Oaks pond, I wasn't about to do it again. There really aren't that many different things I see to paint there, but I had never done this. There was a crowd and people coming and going, so it's not really something you can dwell on for long -- the people that is. So I did just block-ins of the people. I I did a terrible painting this Saturday with the PAPC, washed it off, so it will never be seen again (thankfully). This is an oil on canvas, 11 x 14".
I did these two 8 by 10s during the usual plein air Saturday morning events. One was done near the River Walk at the Michigan Avenue Bridge just north of downtown Chicago. It was okay, but involved a long walk lugging my gear to the site. (I'm usually not happy if I have to carry things a mile.) The second painting I did near the old lumber area, when Chicago was rebuilding after the Great Chicago Fire, there were lumber mills taking in trees from Michigan. There's still a street named Lumber Street. Lots of railroad lines heading east as they pass this site, sounding their horns. So.....after I gave a dollar to a homeless woman....I set up and painted this boat in a boat yard --- the site is also near the South Branch of the Chicago River. I painted for about an hour and a half and left. Most of the other painters paint until noon and gather for lunch. I'm not so much inclined, a bit of a loner. Works for me.
This is an 8 x 10" plein air I did with the Plein Air Painters of Chicago. The location is Montrose Harbor at Lake Michigan where those who own sailboats moor their boats. I drove up, found a parking space and got my painting gear ready. First, although I am a member of the PAPC, I paint where I want. Often they gather together for that group feeling, which I don't need. I prefer painting by myself. Second, I was lucky to get a free parking space --- there are parking lots nearby, but they are expensive ---- Chicago likes to charge and tax everything. Anyhow, this 8 x 10 took me about an hour and a half and I was able to give a little indication of the warm humid atmosphere from the look of the distant buildings downtown.
This is a 10" x 16" (odd size, I know) oil on canvas. Depicted is a scene I saw when we visited Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Bell's Brewery. Bell's has a restaurant at the location -- very good one indeed -- besides the brewery, the older brewery at that site. The brewery tour we took is located 7 miles away in Comstock, MI where there larger brewery is. When I parked the car near the restaurant I was about a block away and passed this loading dock. I really liked the color I saw in these wooden barrels and snapped a photo between the wires of their cyclone fence. The painting took about a week or so.
On the last morning of my art guild's drawing class --- off for the summer --- I did this watercolor portrait of a model in 30 minutes. Here 30 minutes is a "long pose" so you have to work quick. Nothing like working from the model, so I passed up my other Saturday morning group, the Plein Air Painters of Chicago. I will be with them the rest of the summer.