Last week I went to the John C. Campbell Folk School for a still life painting class. I did eight paintings over 4 1/2 days ---- not that I was trying to set any kind of record, mind you, I just work hard and work fast. I set up these still lifes myself, although the instructor, Melody Boggs, is a very accomplished in composition. These are all 8" x 10", two on linen and one canvas. Sorry about the pctures -- I took them in haste before they got varnish.
After an all day session on painting there is time in the evening to observe a little Morris dancing. Check it out -- John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.
About ten years ago when we were in London, I took a photo of this street scene in Hampstead.....Hampstead Heath. We had just taken a tour of an English poet's house when we continued on to this scene. We went to a very nice bookstore and the next to it was a tea shop. Since it was a rather daunting task to paint all the cars, buildings, trees, people, it took me a long time to decide to paint it. This was not easy and took me several months to do it. The painting is an oil on canvas (stretched by me, of course!) 20" X 24".
I've done a good number of shows in The Next Picture Show Gallery in Dixon, Illinois. When I drive up to drop off a painti, this is the doorway next door to the gallery. It looked interesting to me and I snapped a picture, probably two years ago. Finally I did the painting (that happens a lot -- I take a picture and need something to do in the Winter up in the studio). This is a 9" x 8" oil on canvas. Yes, it's a weird size and I'll have to have a frame custom made.
Long time no blog entries, but then everyone seems to be going to Facebook.
These are some of the work I did last summer painting with, and sometimes without the Plein Air Painters of Chicago. I also did the Winter show with the PAPC held at the Palette & Chisel in Chicago. I did a couple paintings along the North Branch of the Chicago River and have decided to make a series of River paintings at various spots along the river. While painting there one day a woman sneaked up within 6 feet of me and scared the daylights out of me. Another interesting experience was while painting in Wicker Park --- had a couple homeless guys come up and talk to me for about 20 minutes. Never a dull moment.
I did these two portraits during the winter when it's just not conducive to be outdoors painting. I prefer a candid look to the subject. These are both 8" X 10" done on a stretched canvas done from a photo.....however you will notice all the color I can throw into them, as though I had them sitting before me so they look pretty much like life.
As I have said before, when you are an artist you can do anything. When I left the Navy I felt I could do anything in the world. Man is my head growing big! Anyhow, just kidding, .....but this time at the John C. Campbell Folk School I was part of the Longbow making class taught by Tom Turgeon. I had not ever made a bow (okay, I tried once when I was a kid) and only shot arrows when I was a teenager. We were given a glued up blank consisting of Yellowheart and a layer of Bamboo ready to be filed and sanded into the correct shape. It takes a lot of filing and sanding skill to work your way around this bow (expect a day and a half). Since I've done wood carving and other wood related projects I felt quite comfortable. Tom Turgeon is an absolutely outstanding teacher...always open to questions and redoing a demo so you get your work correct. After a day and a half of filing and sanding, we were ready to shoot outside the woodworking shop at JCCFS. After that we concentrated on getting a nice color using dyes and then doing a polyurethane finish after the dyes were dry. So......where's the painting connection? We used dyes to get the color on the bow...only a few color choices so it helps to know about mixing colors. A little different than using paint in that the dyes dry very dark, but the polyurethane varnish brings back the color. Tom teaches the class all around the country, many in his home state of Utah. Great class.....you're an artist?.....you can do it. (By the way...that's yours truly traveling with classmates and our bows on the campus at John C. Campbell.)
This is a 11" X 14" oil on linen. The location for this is somewhere near Cambridge, Wisconsin along one of Wisconsin's "Rustic Roads". Usually the Rustic Roads take you through farm country on two lane roads and there are often very nice farm scenes. Though they are nice, there really isn't any possiblity of pulling off the road for plein air painting...no room. In fact I have done several works from references taken along a ride down the road. I read a book recently about a cowboy working on a farm out west...Wyoming...and he wrote that farmers and ranchers usually steer the cattle away from ponds like this and prefer to have access to water tanks for the animals. Apparently you risk the animals getting into a mess and into some contaminated water if you let them drink out of the pond. That said, this was a really nice scene which attracted my attention with the color and composition. And here's another thought....once I have set myself up for a shot, that's pretty much the composition I will use when I paint the scene.