Monday, June 10, 2013

2nd Canandaigua Plein Air Festival

Sunday's Pressure Off Painting: The Red Boathouse , 12x 9"
I'm still so excited from the past four days that I don't know where to start!  I did not come back home with any awards nor anything like that, but I feel that I gained so much in many ways. I made new friendships and learned so much from fellow artists.

Wed June 5th, Registration Day
Having to deliver some paintings for an upcoming exhibit in Cazenovia, NY, I did not leave Syracuse until 5:30PM. I arrived at the Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery in Canandaigua towards the end of the artists reception, but got all my Ampersand boards stamped for next day.  We were given a bag of goodies (including a nice apron and hat), maps, instructions, and an envelope with labels for the maximum of five paintings we would be allowed to hand in at the end of the second day. Before heading to the motel I scouted the surrounding area for possible interesting scenes for Saturday's Quick Draw.
At the motel I was staying with my friend Lori -who wouldn't arrive until next morning, I met three women artists, who kindly invited me to hang out with them out on the porch. We had wine and relaxing conversation. Then we each went to our rooms to get a good rest for the upcoming day.

Th June 6th - Day One
The weather refused to cooperate. There was rain, rain, and more rain from 8:30 AM on.
Reminder to self: next time read instruction carefully.  Being an early riser I could have been able to produce a decent painting before the rain started. As it was, I thought we were supposed to start painting at 8:00 AM!

Being told there were several parks down East Lake Rd. I headed out in that direction. I found Ontario Beach Park and tried to paint the view facing south, but pretty soon it got foggy so I switched to the view facing north. I wasted precious time figuring out if I should risk setting up my gear near a picnic table or if I should paint inside my car. A few rain drops convinced me that the car was my best bet. With the parking lot being almost empty I positioned my car so that I could have the best view and be able to paint with the hatch opened. The painting below was the result. I'm not happy with it so this one will likely end up being washed off.

PA #1, Marina at Ontario Beach Park, 9x12"
After 2 hours of work and tired of painting crouched in the back of the car I went back to the motel and had lunch. Afterwards I went to the pier to see if a scene would speak to me.
I debated whether I should paint Squaw Island, a landmark, because I don't like to paint cliche scenes, but the beautiful contrast of a tree with a bright foliage against the dark spruce decided me to go for it. I also liked the misty background. While painting it inside the car, one of the photographers for the event came over; he said the island was a rookery for the seagulls and  told me that he had kayaked around it and found it quite smelly due to their droppings. I thanked him later for providing me with the title.
PA #2, The Rookery, 9x12" - SOLD
Feeling like I could squeeze one more painting that day, I moved the car a few yards down the road. The colorful boathouses are another landmark, but I did not want to paint a row of them. So I found a beautiful boat that became my focal area, with the boathouses in the background. The rain had stopped so I set up my gear on the sidewalk, but a few minutes into it a real downpour forced me to put everything in the car and I finished working there, hatched closed, having to use my roll of paper towels as defogger.
While I like the painting and the colors, I'm aware that I need to put more effort into loosen up when painting structures that are not the focal area. This one needs more work.

PA #3, A Quiet Day at the Pier, 9x12"

 At night, we were treated to a demo by David Lusier, the judge of the event. One of the things that stuck with me is that he said it is best to start with your darks because that way you will know how far you can push your lights.

June 7th - Day Two
The day was cloudy with chances of rain. I headed off to the Muar Lakes area nearby and found Lagoon Park across from where I had parked the car. There was a large gazebo by the pond so I went back to the car to get my gear. Fortunately for me, I found my scene right there. All I needed to do was to decide how to paint the changing sky and clouds. It was so nice to finally be able to work standing up for a long period!
PA #4, Peaceful Morning, 12x 9"- SOLD
After lunch I headed to the residential area near downtown, scouting for something to paint. The night before, event organizers had given us some addresses of people who would allowed artists to work from their porches. Nothing clicked so I went to Sonnenberg Gardens. There were beautiful views to paint near the greenhouses but they offered no protection from possible rain, so I went to the mansion. There, I found another artist under the large porch facing the Italian Garden. The wall of large spruces in the distant and their colors in the mist won me over. I worked at it until closing time. I took artist's license with the foreground and removed many small trees.  The hint of the gazebo and the statue of Jupiter were enough to place the scene. I will need to take a better photo of it though.
PA #5, Italian Garden at Sonnenberg, 9x12"
 Back at the motel, I started framing. One of the things that I did at home which also saved me time here was to number the glass panel corresponding to each frame. A lot of people use one single kind of frame but I think that it's the paintings who decide what frame and color they will look best in, so I brought seven different ones with me. Despite all the work done ahead, it took me over two hours to frame four pastels.

June 8th, Day Three - Quick Draw Day
Early in the morning I handed in my paintings. Cloudy with chance of rain. I needed to find a place to paint before 9:30AM where I could work from the car in case of rain. I found a parking space by the market, and facing the hatch was my scene, an alley. With some time to spare I even did some shopping right there. I had brought with me different sizes of boards to choose from depending on the scene, and this one, having large shapes and being relatively simple, I thought it best to work in a large format so I could keep things loose. Taking with Lori the night before about color, value, and general trends in plein air painting, got me into paying more attention to what I was doing. Fortunately, the rain held off so I worked standing up. I finished before 11:30 AM, put the board without glass in the frame, and took it to the Commons where the paintings were going to be displayed. I got very nice comments about my painting and the composition. I'm happy with the results and my effort to keep the colors subdued. Now all I need to do is to fix a few things.

Quick Draw, The Alley, 16x12"
That night was the  award ceremony and preview sale. My friend Lori won the Artist Choice Award for a beatiful close up painting of a boathouse. We were treated to a nice dinner and had the chance to meet the other artists. I think the weather made us all comrades in adversity so people were more inclined to share their experiences with others.

Sunday June 9th - Public Exhibit and Sale
Having all morning to do whatever we wanted, we decided to go painting. (Hadn't we had enough?) The painting heading this post is my effort of that morning and I did learned a lot from it. I tend to think sky reflections as light blue, but when you place such color next to a light yellow they are almost the same in value so I had to find darker and darker blues. I like this one a lot. All it needs is to darken the building on the right.
At the exhibit I met two nice ladies, each of whom went home with one of my paintings. It's always nice to hear someone say " I saw it (the painting) and it spoke to me."

The event was well planned and it promises to get better. My thanks to the organizers, donors, and the volunteers who made it possible, and to the artists and people, with whom I had the chance to exchange ideas and good laughs.


Donna T said...

Adriana, you did such beautiful work in spite of the weather! It's so hard to paint when there are no form-shaping lights and darks but somehow you made the best of the dreary light situation! Thanks for describing this event. You are so brave to go out on your own in a strange city. Congrats on the sales and congrats on another successful plein air event!

Adriana Meiss said...

Thank you for commenting Donna! I truly think that the bad weather helped in creating more unified paintings. The level of commitment from some of the participants was very encouraging too. Even near closing time on the last day of the event people were painting, which stands to reason since by then the weather had improved a lot!
Of the close to 50 participants, 5 were pastellists, 3 of them from the Syracuse or nearby area!

Donna T said...

Maybe next year there will be 6 pastellists if I'm lucky!

Adriana Meiss said...

I'll make sure to remind you!

Rik no Orkut said...