This time I've posted three recent plein air paintings; two done in organized events and one on my own. The painting of the statue of the Civil War soldier was done in Cambridge, Wisconsin on a sunny day. It's dedicated to soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. I did this one very Impressionistic. I have been to Cambridge, usually to go to the pottery place in town (also Ripley's bakery) and I always pass this park with the statue and say "someday I'd like to paint that". Well, it finally happened. I did this 8" X 10" in about an hour and a half. I also took a few photos on the trip for possible paintings to do this winter when the weather is bad.
The painting of the tree was done in the "Fresh Paint" plein air event in Amana Iowa. (Place to visit there is Millstream Brewery!!) I did this little painting, an 8" X 10" in a little over an hour on a very hot day. I was right along a lake, but after doing a couple paintings of the lake it was time to look elsewhere. As I often do, I just scan the area at 90 degrees, 180 degrees from where I am standing. This was at 90. It just came very easily and was one of two paintings I left at Catiri's Gallery after the show to be on display for one month. I did sell the other -- an 11" X 14" -- of Lily Lake. So I had to drive back last month, pick up this one and some beer from Millstream Brewery. Right now it's hanging in my home, but will be in a show next January.
Lastly was a 6" X 10" (kind of an odd size but nice for a panoramic view -- and my friend Kenny at Ken's Framing, River Grove does the custom frame) I did at another plein air event called Anatomically Correct held at Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, Illinois. I've never painted with that group, so I was kind of an outsider (like I was in the Iowa group --- it's OK, I'm used to it. Here could be another entry in my "Secret Life of the Artist" series -- spending time alone painting). I set up next to the pond at Emily Oaks and painted the view across the way -- a nice example of autumn. I had a good number of people (not artists) stop by, take a look and talk -- might have even gained a student. It was quite a beautiful day, however I had to stop after I finished this one because my back was hurting. An hour and a half of standing on uneven ground will do you in. I started with no drawing, just washing in color and then getting down to business painting opaque. It turned out to be one of my better efforts ever.
So, three paintings, three states: Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. I'm sure the gasoline companies love me.
I entered these three pencil (8B graphite for those of you who have to know everything)drawings in a show and had all three accepted. Ever wonder how things are chosen? For example, sometimes you enter three or four and only two are accepted -- why? Sometimes it's a very popular show and many artists enter and they will only give you space for two of yours. In this case, this show is not as popular as the one I am in now (I got 3 of 4 accepted in that one) and with less entrants I got them all in. So if you don't get any in don't always think it's that you aren't good enough. The gallery will probably give space to their regulars and you may be unknown to them and get turned away. Hey, it's happened to me.
About these works: Farmer's Bank, about 15" X 15" was done from a photo. I just immediately saw this as a black and white work rather than an oil painting. I found this in Smith's Grove, Kentucky as I also did the middle painting, Old Barn. I just didn't know what else to call it --- I don't think it was a tobacco barn, but it isn't the traditional cow or horse barn. I was not able to get close to it, so a photo had to suffice. The last work was a train station still in use located in Coumbus, Wisconsin. You may never have heard of Columbus, Wisconsin, but once upon a time there was a large brewery there with the owner's mansion also. The train station was built in 1907. I was coming home from Minnesota early one morning and remembered seeing this station. I drove up and the shadows over the tracks made the look of the painting.
Here's another issue: what does the artist see in a scene that make the artist want to paint or draw it? Usually for me it is the color and what will eventually be the interesting brushwork I will use to set the scene off. In this case it was the contrast of the dark shadows setting off the bright sun on the building. Actually, working on those shadows on the grass and rails was much more interesting than the building itself. Yes, sometimes it is the building -- I've done several -- I like the look of old stations, houses and commercial buildings of the past. (Secret life of the Artist)