Monday, November 16, 2015

Seneca Lake Plein Air

Cool Evening, 8x10" pastel on board
It's embarrassing to be posting this a month and a half after the event but the truth is that I have been very busy.

Anyway, the Seneca Plein Air ran from Sept 31 to Oct 4th.  Although I had checked the weather forecast before leaving home, I was unprepared for the windy conditions! The first day of painting I found a nice location by the side of the road and started painting. An hour and a half later I realized how cold I was when I noticed how clumsy my fingers were when I was trying to cover my painting with glassine.  I couldn't feel them! I packed and got in my car and turned on the heat.  I went looking for another location and that 's when I found a fellow painter, George van Hook, who let me have one of the several winter jackets he carries with him just in case. He saved my life and as an added bonus, wearing his jacket gave me the courage to paint the scene below in oils:

Seneca Sparkle, 8x10" oil on panel

For my third painting I went to Roy's Marina with the intention to paint boats but the light on some boathouses caught my attention. I was allowed to use the restrooms at the marina so it was easy to decide to stay there.
At Roy's Marina, 12x9" pastel on board
Later that day  I went to a feed store just a few miles north from downtown Geneva. I wanted to paint a night scene and debated whether to paint it in oils or pastels. Because I couldn't find in my van the special light I had bought for this purpose I figured it would be easier to handle oils than pastels if I were to use a limited palette.  So that's what I did. I worked from 7-9 and could have stayed longer but I started feeling uncomfortable working all by myself in a neighborhood I did not know, all dark  with only a few stray cats and an occasional cyclist.  I finished it next day but worked from 5-7 instead and the chance to talk with the owner. Happily, it sold during the sale!

All Is Quiet, 16x12" oil on panel --SOLD

The second day wasn't as bright and I really had hard time finding an interesting location. I went back to the marina to add a few touches to the pastel of the day before and went scouting afterwards. In the afternoon I painted Cool Evening, the  scene on top of this post.

Saturday's Quick Draw:
The pumpkin, 12x9" Pastel on board
For the jurying and silent auction the participants were allowed to submit only two paintings, but next day we could bring whatever we had produced during the event. Here is my area minus the one that sold:

My thanks to the organizers and the people who volunteered to make this a wonderful event!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Paintings from Mirbeau

Morning at Mirbeau , pastel on paper 12x9"
   Early in July I went painting with my friend Christy to Mirbeau, a spa in Skaneateles. I had asked for permission to paint beforehand and was not disappointed. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with profusion of color everywhere. There is a also a replica of Monet's green bridge and a pond.

  It was a very hot day so we had to paint from a shaded area. In my first painting what called my attention was the light on the hanging basket and the angle created by the roof on the wall.

By the time I was done with the first painting it was already midday. The light at this hour is so diffused, and has always fascinated me. The bushes in the middle ground where my main interest: teh leaves in sunshine were almost white.  I did some tweaking at home, mostly removing things that were not necessary, and while I did not like it at first, I do so now as it transports me to that very day.

Midday at Mirbeau, pastel on board, 10x8"

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Adirondacks Plein Air

Morning in the St Regis, pastel on board, 14x11 --Sold
    From August 17th to the 22nd  I participated in the Adirondack Plein  Air Festival in Saranac Lake.  This being my second time in this event made it easier to decide what and where to paint. My friend Kim who takes oil classes with me, and who has a camper nearby joined me the first two days and showed me beautiful spots. Some of them will have to wait till next year if I get the chance.

  In plein air competitions I'm always competing with myself: always trying to produce better paintings, more interesting compositions, and most important of all, challenging myself when confronted with what could be a difficult scene to paint. I work hard and try to push myself to the limit. This time I did a total of 11 paintings, yet two of them are not good for viewers eyes...

My first painting was the one above. I was up very early because I wanted to paint the lifting fog, and this spot near Back Pond was perfect. Happily for me, it found a home in Tupper Lake! After lunch, I found a location on the other side of the road and had to try my hand at oils. the results was just an OK painting, but I enjoyed the place so much and even found some pitcher plants in the bog.   After dinner I went looking for structures or fields to paint. Found a location on Rt 86 that the year before had called my attention because of the goldenrod. This time the storm in the distance made the scene even more interesting and fortunately, only a few raindrops fell where I was.
 A Storm is Brewing, pastel on board 9x12"

Next day I was early at Lake Clear Outlet. The sky had beautiful colors, but I was not able to capture everything because the light changed too fast for me. I had to come the next day to finish it and as it always happens, the conditions were different and what I originally wanted was gone. Still I was able to do something with it.
Lake Clear Outlet, pastel on board 12x16"
In the afternoon I came back to this place I had looked in the morning. I put aside my fears about the possible difficulties (perspective) with the scene below and got to work.  Towards the end, I had to wait till some people showed near the restaurant so I could determine their height with respect to the building.  I had trouble painting them: they were looking like stick people. I couldn't let this last step destroy what it had taken so much care to create. After taking the time to think how other artists paint people (one stroke, a triangle, few key color, etc) I decided to start by placing a colorful shirt first, believe it or not, it worked, and the rest was easier. When I was cleaning up someone offered to buy it but because I thought it had potential for an award,  I declined. It ended up with receiving an honorable mention.

A Day at the Junction, pastel on board 11x14--Honorable Mention

In the evening, I went to this church near Paul Smith College, one of the many abandoned churches in the area.
St Gabriel's Church, pastel on board, 12x9"

Next day was "Paint the Town" day. This house called my attention last year so it was my first choice.
House on Church St, pastel on board, 12x12"

After lunch I went to Lake Flower looking for a scene to paint for the silent auction.  Realizing I did not have a stamped small pastel board I decided to try oils. It was very windy and to prevent my set up from being knocked over I worked from my car's hatch.

A Windy Day, oil on board, 5x7- SOLD
In the afternoon I went near Mt Pisgah. This site has a great view of the mountains and I wanted to paint it again this year. However, I think my tiredness shows in the small area I chose to paint. 
Field near Mt Pisgah, pastel on board, 8x8
    That evening I started framing and did not finish until 2:00 AM!
   Next day I was so tired that I had to skip the "Paint the Saranac River" in the morning. I gave myself the morning off and explored other locations. Nothing begged to be painted so I went back home and got ready to deliver the paintings for jurying.

  On Saturday was the Quick Draw event from noon till 2:00 PM.  I did not want to go far from City Hall where the exhibit was taking place, so I looked for a shady spot by the parking lot and worked from there.  Having had the time to look at it for some time now, I can see lots of things that need fixing. I think it was too complicated a scene to paint in just 2 hours but that's how you learn!

Behind the Storefronts, pastel on board, 12x12"

Monday, June 22, 2015

4th Canandaigua Plein Air

Painting a vineyard in Naples, NY

 On the second week of June I participated for the 4th time in the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition and Festival. A week before the event I got a feeling of unease because of the caliber of the participants. Many artists who had participated in previous years were replaced by others whose names I often see in Plein Air Magazine, so there was a reason to feel apprehensive. Anyway all that disappeared the moment I arrived to Canandaigua and started to paint.

One thing I can say is that at least for me, this competition made me think differently how I approached my scenes. I wasn't interested in painting lake views, or saleable scenes.  I was looking for scenes that offered a good composition and would challenge me in conveying the atmosphere of the day. Then, I had also to take into account the safety of the spot I was going to paint from.

 My first scene had horses grazing on a pasture but I did not have the chance to paint them due to the imminent storm. I had barely time to rearrange my pastels and put my things in the car before the first big raindrops started to fall.
Just Before the Storm, 9x12 pastel on board
 The downpour did not last long and for my second painting I ended up at an intersection from which I could see another participant at work. Not wanting to intrude nor paint the same scene, I took the road to my right (Monks Rd) and almost right away I found a great view.
Hazy, Lazy Afternoon, 9x12" pastel on board-Honorable Mention -SOLD
The lake looked silvery in the distance and the background changed often due to the mist, but I had decided what was important in this scene from the first moment. At the end, I took liberty with the color of the sky. A good start for day 1! I hurried back to town for the artists reception but wished I could have stayed and paint another scene.

At the reception I met Colette, a pastelist from Rochester, and we decided to go painting a night scene. So we both went to the Wegmans parking lot ( a supermarket). I chose to paint the entrance while she painted the outdoor cafe. I painted till all I could see were values. Thunder and lightning nearby encourage me to pack at record speed.

Day 2
Thursday was supposed to be sunny, no rain. I had barns in mind!  There is an interesting red barn on Rt 21 that is not easy to paint from the main road. I found a partial view of it from a less trafficked road. 
Red Barn from Hicks Rd. 10x8" pastel on board- SOLD
Feeling confident for having already two OK paintings and two that I could go back to their respective places to  finish them, I headed south on Rt 21 near the cemetery where there are three large barns by the road. I took the time to look around the structures and that paid off as I found what I considered just perfect and simple to paint.
A Sliver of Light, 10x8 pastel on board
Afterwards I headed to Grimes Creek in Naples, where I had read there is a waterfall. I went scouting first as there is a 1/4 mile walk to the falls from the parking lot. Midway to the falls I realized I was getting tired an hungry and that is not a good combination to start a challenging scene. So I went back to the car but took lots of reference photos. Since I did not want to leave Naples without a painting from there,  I found a place from which I could paint the same vineyard I painted the year before but looking at it from the north. My interest in the scene was the hazy blue of the middle ground in early afternoon.
Vineyard in Naples II 9x12" pastel on board
I had to hurry back to town and get ready for the Meet the Artist reception where the participants could exhibit three studio paintings and have the opportunity to meet and converse with patrons. After this event I went back to the Wegmans parking lot to finish my painting of the day before.
Evening Shoppers, 14x11" pastel on board
Day 3
I got up late and still very tired. When you are painting happily for hours and hours you don't realized how tired your feet can get! Since I had at least five decent pieces for the exhibit, I decided to take it easy and try painting with oils, and for that I went back to Monks Rd. to paint some barns.  My oil painting started well but I reached a point where I began to get frustrated. It was about 2:00 PM,  I had left my salad at my hostess' home and all I had in the car was water and a bag of popcorn...). Then a friend also participating in the event came to paint along that road. That kind of reanimated me for a while. We were withing shouting distance from each other and took breaks to see each other's progress.  

Unfinished barns 10x20 oil- A frame is what I used to carry the wet paint. 
After a while I just gave up on my oil-- I realized later on that I had not resolved how to deal with the trees on the left from the very beginning... Angry at myself (I don't know why?), I put my oil stuff away. I looked again around me and another scene begged me to paint it. It's funny how easily one forgets tiredness and hunger. Definitely pastels this time!
Canandaigua Blues, 12x12" pastel on board
I went back to my hostess to photograph and frame my work, but couldn't finish because I wanted to see Nancy Tankersley, the juror' demo. Even though I arrived late, I liked what I saw. Then it was  back home to fishing framing.

Day 4
After delivering my paintings for the exhibit I went scouting for a scene for the Quick Draw. The weather forecast predicted showers so I needed a roof. I went to the farmers market where two plant vendors allowed me to paint their booth.  I think I tried to bite more than I could chew with this one, but I had fun talking with the guys. I will correct and finish this one some day because I want to get comfortable painting cars and busy scenes.
Waiting 9x12 pastel on board
In the afternoon was the award reception. I was stunned to hear my name associated with an honorable mention for Hazy, Lazy Afternoon! Nancy said she had to decide between  that one and the side wall  (I think she referred to my white barn...) but she chose this one because it reflected the atmosphere of the day very well.  Next day, I sold two paintings! 
My thanks to the organizers of the event and to the patrons for this great opportunity!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Peaceful Afternoon, 6x6", sold

Peaceful Afternoon, pastel on paper by Adriana Meiss
  This painting of the Meadowbrook area by the university, is one of my three sold at the OAG annual spring show and sale this past weekend. I'm happy to say they were all bought by returned customers.

  Now, I'm in the process of cleaning my studio and sooner or later will have to make hard decisions about work that has been sitting around for too long. Sometimes cropping helps to salvage a painting but action is definitely needed because that pile of "not so good work" is a constant reminder of failures and it's best to start something new with a clear slate --- I might end up just hiding it...

 I'm hoping the weather improves enough so I  can open the studio windows to let some fresh air in and start new work.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Slope in Moonlight, 5x7

Slope in Moonlight, pastel on board by Adriana Meiss

This small pastel was done from an old photo reference and from recollection of colors during early evening. It was painted in November for the Plowshares show, and sadly, I have not painted in pastels since.

This winter has been too cold to paint comfortably in the studio- the electric heater I bought for that purpose did not help much this time. Also, for the first time in years, the cold really got to me and painting was the last thing in my mind. However, In February, after weeks of non relenting cold, a trip to visit family in Costa Rica, and lots of photo references from there, I decided it was time to paint. Since the kitchen is the warmest place in the house due to the wood burning stove being there, my only option was to paint there with oils. The ceiling fan that distributes heat to the rest of the house would have distributed pastel dust all over, so pastels in the kitchen were out of the question. Now I'm interested in seeing how two of the scenes I've painted in oils would turn out in pastel, where I feel I have more control. The last three days have been warm and I hope to be back in my studio soon!

I almost forgot to mention that the winter issue of  Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine has an interview with me done by Tina Manzer.  Here is the link if you want to read it (pg 72 and 70).

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Changing Colors, 7x5"pastel on board- SOLD

Daylilies, 7x5" pastel on board
  Two more recent garden minis.  Architecture plays an important role in my garden series. It's there to give a context, but it's never the main feature.