The making of this year's Christmas card began with a photo from Facebook. A friend posted a picture of her husband standing next to the Christmas tree they cut down near their new home in Colorado. Editing him out (my apologies to Ken), I did a watercolor about 5 x 7". Scanning the painting we had photos made (sorry all you tech savvy people, but the computer is not something I understand well, I'm sure there are other ways to get this done). We bought card stock with envelopes the appropriate size and glued them down.
Most of the time I was in Door County I spent with my dog and not painting. I was there to just be there, but did a few paintings. This one was done in the late afternoon one day when the sun was creating a kind of fairyland of light blue over the meadow through the woods. It was not easy to paint because it made things look flat. Successful or not, I enjoyed standing among the trees and looking out through then and did this 8" x 10".
Last Saturday at the drawing class I did this charcoal drawing and a watercolor painting of the model. The remarkable thing about the drawing is that I did it in 5 minutes ---- portrait, hands and torso. Never done one that fast, although we always start out with a couple 5 minute poses. This was done on newsprint paper.
When I am not painting with the Plein Air Painters of Chicago I go to my art guild's Saturday morning drawing class. After some 5 and 10 and 15 minute poses we finish with three 25 minute poses. That gives me enough time to do some watercolor portraits or figure studies. These were all done within the last several months. It's enough time to work if you can work fast, for there isn't enough time to really dry some areas, but if you plan ahead you can work in another area while the area you want to explore a bit more dries for more work.
With a little help from my friend Ed Hinkley I have matted and framed my watercolor plein air paintings. I have found over the last several years that my mat (or matte) cutting skills aren't what they used to be, so I asked my friend Ed about using his mat cutter. These are my six of seven watercolors I did in New Mexico this fall. One is an OK painting, but not quite as good as the rest.
So, here a a number of works here at the house....what I need is a gallery to take them.
The Plein Air Painters of Chicago had their 2017 show at the Palette & Chisel Academy north of downtown Chicago. I had four of my paintings in the show. I think I have posted them here before individually. Well, no sales this time, but I did get a compliment from the writer of the Palette & Chisel's blog. Click on this: http://thisoldpalette.blogspot.com/ and scroll down a long, long way and you will see my painting "Pancake Breakfast" and the comment. Thanks for stopping by......
Celebrating a 35th anniversary (actually last year), Sharon and I went to New Mexico so I could do some plein air painting. First stop was Santa Fe, NM where I painted just outside the city limits at the Randall Davies Home Audubon Society site. I sat down on a stone and painted this watercolor, a forest with path --- 5 X 7". Then we drove to Taos, NM and stayed at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. It's a great place to stay with several beautiful living rooms, great breakfast and dining area. I recommend it. I took a chair with me to the road just behind the MD Luhan House to paint. I hate to say it, but actually I was trespassing by about 20 feet into Taos Pueblo. No harm though. I painted for about an hour and a half on an 11 X 14" page in watercolor. I took along a very small Winsor Newton traveling watercolor kit --- very small. However the poing is, use quality materials and you don't need a whole lot to do nice work. Since we flew in and I didn't want to risk taking oil paints, I decided to do watercolor. Our room had a small balcony and I was able to do a couple watercolors of the mountains from there, and then a couple around the campus of the Dodge House. They host workshops; some for writers, artists, yoga and whatever else -- you'd have to go to their website. Finally we visited relatives in Albuquerque -- no painting there, just fun.
Years ago I was one of the artists at Talisman Gallery in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and sold regularly. Then retirement came for the owner and her children weren't interested in continuing the gallery. Try as I might I haven't been able to find another gallery and gradually just quit looking. And with some distress I recently threw out all my rejection letters. Now I just do gallery shows and shows with my art guild. My wife has become friends with the woman who works at City News Cafe in Chicago. She found out I do art and asked if I wanted to put some pieces up in the magazine store, City News (same place). As we all know, people coming in for coffee or magazines are not there to buy art. I used to do some Mall shows -- same thing --- people at the mall are there to buy shoes, shirts and jeans, not art. OK, So I brought 7 pieces; two landscapes, two still lifes, a double portrait, a street scene and a horse. They show a really good variety of what I can do, not that anyone walking in the store will notice ---- well, I take that back --- I had two friends see them and one did remark about how I was able to handle a variety of subjects. They've been up two weeks and so far no comments or questions for me, but then I understand the bigger question --- who's there for art? All that aside, I'm glad to have them there and I always appreciate someone wanting to hang my work.
This is actually Pancake Breakfast at Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, Illinois. Since I had painted the same aspect of Emily Oaks pond, I wasn't about to do it again. There really aren't that many different things I see to paint there, but I had never done this. There was a crowd and people coming and going, so it's not really something you can dwell on for long -- the people that is. So I did just block-ins of the people. I I did a terrible painting this Saturday with the PAPC, washed it off, so it will never be seen again (thankfully). This is an oil on canvas, 11 x 14".
I did these two 8 by 10s during the usual plein air Saturday morning events. One was done near the River Walk at the Michigan Avenue Bridge just north of downtown Chicago. It was okay, but involved a long walk lugging my gear to the site. (I'm usually not happy if I have to carry things a mile.) The second painting I did near the old lumber area, when Chicago was rebuilding after the Great Chicago Fire, there were lumber mills taking in trees from Michigan. There's still a street named Lumber Street. Lots of railroad lines heading east as they pass this site, sounding their horns. So.....after I gave a dollar to a homeless woman....I set up and painted this boat in a boat yard --- the site is also near the South Branch of the Chicago River. I painted for about an hour and a half and left. Most of the other painters paint until noon and gather for lunch. I'm not so much inclined, a bit of a loner. Works for me.
This is an 8 x 10" plein air I did with the Plein Air Painters of Chicago. The location is Montrose Harbor at Lake Michigan where those who own sailboats moor their boats. I drove up, found a parking space and got my painting gear ready. First, although I am a member of the PAPC, I paint where I want. Often they gather together for that group feeling, which I don't need. I prefer painting by myself. Second, I was lucky to get a free parking space --- there are parking lots nearby, but they are expensive ---- Chicago likes to charge and tax everything. Anyhow, this 8 x 10 took me about an hour and a half and I was able to give a little indication of the warm humid atmosphere from the look of the distant buildings downtown.
This is a 10" x 16" (odd size, I know) oil on canvas. Depicted is a scene I saw when we visited Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Bell's Brewery. Bell's has a restaurant at the location -- very good one indeed -- besides the brewery, the older brewery at that site. The brewery tour we took is located 7 miles away in Comstock, MI where there larger brewery is. When I parked the car near the restaurant I was about a block away and passed this loading dock. I really liked the color I saw in these wooden barrels and snapped a photo between the wires of their cyclone fence. The painting took about a week or so.
On the last morning of my art guild's drawing class --- off for the summer --- I did this watercolor portrait of a model in 30 minutes. Here 30 minutes is a "long pose" so you have to work quick. Nothing like working from the model, so I passed up my other Saturday morning group, the Plein Air Painters of Chicago. I will be with them the rest of the summer.
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.