This 14" x 18" landscape is from my studies of Fire's Creek in North Carolina. While my plein air paintings are done in an hour and a half to two hours, this one is far more detailed and took me several weeks to do (interrupted by other work as well). I've been busy here at home in the studio now that the weather here has turned quite cold.
This is a 6" x 10" oil done on the spot in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. I was working on this for about 2 hours and just wasn't pleased with it. While I did sell one of my paintings in the show, I didn't put this one in. The person in the house (or a relative of) walked across the street to see what I was doing. I'm at the point of being critical of my work and not satisfied with this....although I am putting it up here for anyone to see.
Luckily, I have neighbors who have a vacation home in Door County. I love going to Wisconsin...the site of many of my Farms and Barns paintings. Part of the time (4 days) was spent driving, not on the main roads where the tourists go, but on the County roads in the middle of Door County where the farms are. The purpose was to take some shots of the farms in Fall colors to give me ideas for paintings during the winter months when it's too cold to paint outside......I used to do that -- when I was younger and not bothered by really cold weather.
The first painting is the meadow behind my neighbors' house. Loved the color. the next painting was done just 200 feet away....the path through the wood. They gave me a chance to show some textural effects with thick paint.
This is an oil done 6" x 12", a size I haven't done before. Easily made from a 9 x 12 panel, I thought I'd like to try a panoramic view. I painted in this same location last year, so the two paintings look similar. However this time I painted looser and thicker. In the trees at the far right I painted the sky holes through or on top of the dark color I had brushed in for the trees' leaves and limbs. The bright yellow leaves in the center were dropped on carefully. Painting time was about two hours. I stopped without noodling out the grasses in the foreground.
Yesterday I drove to Amana. Iowa to pick up my unsold plein air painting from the Fresh Paint 2014 event. Why don't certain paintings sell? This has a really nice morning sky and some lily pads. Maybe I'm the only one that appreciated that. The other is a 12" x 24" of another view of Lily Lake. I had worked for over two hours on a windy dark morning and still not finished. After dealing with the wind I was ready to stop after two hours and left it unfinished, then took a couple photographs intending to finish at home. Instead of that, I took it along with me to Amana, picked up my other painting and headed off to Lily Lake to finish the big one.
Again, this year I returned to the Fresh Paint Amana and met several very nice painters while trying to do my paintings. Lately I have not been pleased by my own work, but these two came out well enough to put on the gallery wall. They are both oil on linen on a birch panel.....one is an 8 x 10", the other an 11 x 14". I returned to Lily Lake just across the road from the city of Amana and painted the lake in the early morning. The other sketch is of a footbridge next to the lake. It's always good to talk to the other artists....to find new places to paint, learn about what they are doing. One of the artists is a chain saw sculptor, but also an accomplished painter. As I've said before....artists are capable of almost anything.
This is an 8" x 10" that I did in a park setting just outside the city limits of Chicago. While I painted the park workers were mowing the grass and using those gas operated grass trimmers. One guy came over, shut off his trimmer and started to talk. I was OK with that, but I did have to stop painting. Seems like everyone who sees an artist painting has to bring up some painter they have seen on television, so it's probably a good thing to stop what you (I) are doing and take the time to bring a little reality for people who have not really seen an artist in action. (not that I don't like tv artists) This week I am off to Fresh Paint Amana in Amana, Iowa which I did last year. I'm just hoping to do better than I did in Mineral Point....not happy with most of my work there.
I did this 8" x 10" last weekend along the creek in Mineral Point. It's very small and courses through the east side of the town and once fed a large brewery there. I did about six paintings, which for me is low production. I felt like I was in the batter's box fouling off pitches or striking out. I just was not painting very well all week. This one I did show in one of the galleries sponsoring the event and it sold.....not many did.
A very long time passed since I last had a post. For those of you who have been looking, I apologize, but life occasionally gets in the way, but nonetheless important things happen. In the meantime....the "secret life of the artist" has taken me to other fields....basketmaking and woodworking. As usual, in the Spring, we take an annual trip to the John C. Campbell Folk School. My wife quilts and it's up to me to find something among the classes or else go under "guest" status (which for me is plein air painting). This year I did basketry. I have over the last couple years done some basket weaving, so I thought this would be nice. While I did 5 baskets, I was in a class of people who have been doing this from 10 to 30 years ---- a mistake on my part. Oh, they were nice and all..... but I just was a minor note in a major key.
In addition I spent a week or so making a potting bench for gardening (yes, I do that too) for my wife. Using plans, I cut all the boards and screwed them in place and put on the finish and wood protection. As I may have said before, after being in the Navy and being an artist, there just isn't anything I can't do (involving handwork).
As to this painting, it was done on a Sunday morning, took me two hours (longer than I like) and was done on an 8" x 10" linen panel. I was part of an unofficiaL group (I'm new) called Anatomically Correct doing an event called Brush With Nature.
Coming up, I will be part of the first plein air event in Mineral Point, Wisconsin in August and then Plein Air Amana, in Amana, Iowa in September.
Keeping your hand in.....yes, that's keeping your art going under difficult circumstances. I have had to deal with "family issues" on top of having one of the worst winters in history here. Snow, below zero temperatures and wind. I've painted outside in the winter and cold weather before. I'ts not pleasant...well, once you're painting it is..., but not when the cold is threatening to your well being. So, what to do? I pulled out watercolors and went at it. There are two watercolor portraits here; one a copy of a Rembrandt and the other a cowboy from the cover of Frank Schoonover's book. When I do these I dispense with any preliminary drawing and go ahead and paint, sculpting the forms as I work. I finish when I want to and just put them aside, never selling them.
I also painted two rooms --- I can do that too. In March I will be doing a two hour watercolor workshop for a group of high school students at their high school. There you have it, Wintertime for the painter (who doesn't want to freeze his ass).