Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
When I was taking a class in Cody, WY last summer, one of the painters, Sarah, asked if anyone worked in pastel. Since I had done a few, she told me about Wallis sanded pastel paper which I had never heard of. I ordered some not knowing what to expect. I've done enough woodworking and woodcarving to know sand paper when I see it. This is archival sanded paper, but very nice stuff. It probably takes more off (sands off) your pastel stick than ordinary paper, but it has a very substantial surface to it. The pastel shown is a 9 X 12" work of a farm along the road in Walworth County, WI where I have found many of the farm houses and scenes I've done in the past.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The plein air work here is really fun now. The trees are changing color and the leaves are falling which leaves a warm color over portions of the ground. The tree paintings are 6 X 8s and the Wyoming painting from my plein air workshop is an 8 X 10. This is the view looking west from the back of Open Box M which hosted the workshop -- and the makers of pochade boxes.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The watercolor was something to do with only a little while left in classtime -- a portrait of John Muir. The plein air is an 8 X 10 done this week on a very cold day. It was windy and I was standing in the shade to avoid having the sun on my palette and painting. About an hour into it I was having to stand in the sun to get warm. The layers of clouds were really fun to paint and they just kept coming. I'm looking forward to painting as the leaves fall and then the snow begins falling as long as I remember to dress warmly enough.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The two landscapes were done in Cody, Wyoming. One is an 8 X 10" and the other is 7 X 13". I did the 7 X 13 on an 11 X 14 canvas and cut it down. I wanted to do a more panoramic view than the squarer shape permitted. The 8 X 10 was done on the last morning of the workshop and was still wet when I loaded it into the car. I got turned around at night driving back home through Buffalo, Wyoming and had to make a sharp left u-turn which made my easel slide over the surface of the wet painting leaving a couple grooves through the paint surface. Unfortunately I don't have one of those wet painting boxes which I once considered an extravagance, but obviously have a useful purpose. Once home. I tried to match the colors and brushwork. The last painting is a watercolor which I did of another artist, Pete, in the watercolor class. I worked on several paintings from photos that night, but now that I've been working outside I think I am spoiled forever. Painting outside is such a great experience.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Last week I drove 1300 miles west to Cody, Wyoming for the weeklong plein air workshop with Frank Serrano (pictured). As I drove through South Dakota at night an odd sound, there were so many bugs hitting my windshield and the hood of my car it sounded like rain. The ride through the Big Horn mountains just south and east of Cody was a little scary: the clouds were low and it was like driving through fog with the temperature 20 degrees colder than the surrounding area. I arrived at Open Box M, which hosted the event (makers of pochade boxes) early on Monday and met Frank there. He's articulate and knowledgeable on plein air painting and a very nice guy. Our first location is pictured and Frank began a demonstration at about 9 o'clock with a temperature of 39 degrees and very windy. His hand was cold and the pochade box was shaking, but he turned out a nice painting and then we began. The temperature rose and the rest of the week was a lot nicer. I painted with eight other people who had a great time. It's always great to meet other artists who are enthusiastic about their work. Open Box M provides the lunch --- a great lunch, definately worth the price of the workshop. Coletta also provides baked goods and coffee at 8 am. I will post a few other paintings from the workshop later. As I drove home and got turned around trying to find the correct highway entrance, I did a sharp left turn and my paint box scraped across a wet painting (a painting that Frank looked at and said: "That's your best one so far."-- so I have a correction to do. A great experience for me -- give Open Box M a look -- they are done for this year and will have another couple months of workshops next year. At one point on the last day I was standing on a narrow bridge painting a river scene before me and was so excited about being out there painting as the river ran below me I thought I was hyperventilating -- I had an excellent time in Cody.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
This time of year the sunflowers are harvested in Wisconsin. It's just an incredible sight traveling down a road and coming upon a field of these flowers. I'm told that most of the harvest is used for feed to birds rather than humans. I've heard that most of the corn that's grown goes to animal consumption and not human also. I've included one of the shots I took of a Kewaunee, Wisconsin farm and two of my pastels -- both 5" X 7"s. These two were both done fast -- in a couple hours and not fussed over.
Next week I am headed for Cody, Wyoming. I will be driving there for a plein air painting workshop with Frank Serrano (you can check out his work on one of my links), a California artist. About a year ago I was looking at another artist's blog and came across Frank Serrano's work. I liked his work and saw he had a workshop in Cody and that started a whole thing for me -- about being there a long time ago. I was in Cody the summer after I left art school, painting in the mountains with a buddy from art school. I left town with $200.00 and came back with about $3.00. We did all this without a cell phone or a credit card. Looking back on it, I must have been nuts. Anyway, it all worked out. I painted in Jackson, Wyoming mostly and only traveled through Cody. After all this time I am going back looking forward to painting there and meeting Frank Serrano. I will post photos when I return -- and hopefully some paintings. I'll be stretching some linen this week. This will be fun.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I have never worked in pastels, although I once was a Waldorf teacher and did chalkboard drawings for the children's main lesson every day so I guess that's pretty good training. One of the art suppliers that I use had a sale on a box of pastels, so I bought them a couple months ago. The first one I did was the stream (a 5" X 7") which is from the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico. The farmhouse (an 8" X 10") is from somewhere in southern Wisconsin. I had just spent a lot of time on an oil painting which I just plain don't like very much, so I thought I'd give something else a try.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The watercolor landscape is a 4 X 12" winter prairie scene on gesso prepared rough w/c paper. This scene is something you see often in the midwest in winter -- the fields are at rest and the landscape looks wide and barren. The photo was taken four years ago when I had a class of eighth graders. I just attended the high school graduation of some of these boys (their German teacher Frau Mauerman is second on the left). It was my pleasure to teach them during 8 years. We also took wood carving from another teacher. From the left: Lukas, Frau Mauerman, Danny, John-Charles, Rahsaan and myself. Most are going on to college and their teacher is going on to more art. The best thing is that they are just as happy to see me as I am to see them.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
This is an 8 X 10 watercolor completed last week. The color seems a little weak from the original. You see a lot of these in the midwest farmlands near the railroad tracks. When I was a teacher I would take opportunities to take the kids out to the farm and let them experience another way of life. The life a child experiences in a city is far removed from the source of things. A city kid grows up seeing the grocery store as the source of everything they eat. Several times the kids in my class planted vegetables, cut watercress from a stream, pulled rocks from a field, harvested, fed the animals and milked the cows. I'm a city kid too, so what do I call this? Grain elevator or granary?
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
After being in a mall art show about 30 years ago with my stack of oil paintings, I was contacted by someone about doing art classes. I was just out of art school and had no experience, but still they wanted me to start -- they liked my work. One person who showed up that night was Mary. She had a lifelong love of art which she said came from her mother, who also painted. Mary wasn't a Cecelia Beaux, but she did an original from time to time or just copied paintings by others out of those Walter Foster books or magazines. At the time she started she was 67, when this picture was taken. She was the editor of a newspaper at that time. The class moved from one person's home, to a welding shop, to Mary's newspaper composing room, to her home and eventually to her nursing home. Her painting class helped make the hard transition from her home to the nursing home. She continued to paint, finishing one 12 X 16 about every 3 sessions --- pretty darn good for someone who is 97. We had just celebrated her 97th birthday a couple weeks ago then had to cancel the class last week because her foot hurt. She hated to miss class. Her daughter called to tell me she died on Mother's Day. She was one of the nicest, kindest and wonderful people I have ever met. It's just a small part of her story and how art brings people together of all ages to experience the work and fun of art. She leaves behind 3 children, 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren and 1 sad but thankful art teacher. She meant a great deal to me and I will miss her.
Friday, May 11, 2007
These are a few of the watercolors I've done recently. The portrait of the engineer with the soot on his face was done from a black and white picture in a book on railroading; color is mine. I pretty much just started with washes of color and drew as I painted. I really love doing portraits and it usually comes pretty easy for me. The industrial scenes were done with little drawing; I trust myself to get that right as I work. The bluish scene was done on watercolor paper prepared with gesso. The photograph was taken at the Waterworks show which is currently at the August House Gallery in Chicago. My teacher Ed Hinkley is at the left, my son in the center and I'm at the right. Some call me "Slim" -- not sure if I look it there -- gotta do something about that. Maybe dragging my easel outside up and down a few hills will take care of that. Ed has inspired me to work in different ways. He has a great imagination and work ethic and has encouraged me to expand my horizons.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Once upon a time I was an elementary school teacher (actually last year at this time) and these are some of the images I created in chalk. Ninety percent of what I do is oil paint, but when I taught I worked in chalk ---- not pastel, just blackboard chalk. After I told the children their morning lesson story, I would do the image that they would then put into their morning lesson books. You do the math: 175 days of school times 8 years -- a lot of stories and drawings. I told a story a day for all eight years beginning in first grade with Grimm's fairy tales and ending in eighth grade with stories of the Dust Bowl and Physics. We did everything from history, geography (maps of the entire world), math, chemistry, earth science, the inventions of the nineteenth century. The first picture was done in a 3rd-4th grade class (I was a sub. last year) -- one of those Norse myths as one of the heroes is sent off in his Viking ship to burn at sea. The giraffe and the alligator were done in the animal block and finally, my claim to fame --- the Waldorf Curriculum poster. This was done in colored pencil before I actually started teaching in 1995 and lithographed, about 1500 copies. The poster is still sold and hangs in numerous Waldorf school all over the United States. Many of my former parents purchased them for their home and the kids followed them as we went along through the years. My former class will be graduating high school in June this year. I've moved on to oil and watercolor. All those chalk drawings and I only brought my camera about a half dozen times -- the rest were erased. Oh, well, I had the fun of doing them.