Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Plein Air with the Cicadas

I went to Wagner Farm in Glenview, Illinois last week with two old painting friends. Usually I paint alone. While I stood out in the hot sun to do the painting of the large building (like an idiot), they were in the shade. I had cicadas on my easel, on my pallete, in my paint and on my clothes and the back of my neck. I've set up in the woods and had spiders crawling up the easel; I've set up in the mountains and had mosquitoes buzzing me, but this was about the most annoying. Funniest moment came when I looked down at my shirt pocket and met the gaze of two beady red eyes looking back up at me. The darn things are harmless ---- but they are annoying -- noisy too. The larger building is a 9 X 12" and the smaller (the barn door) is an 8 X 10" -- which I did in the shade! Now I have the farmer tan -- I'm a redneck.

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

Grain elevator or granary?

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?