Monday, July 21, 2014

On Location at Saranac Lake

 I spent this past weekend in the Adirondacks with a group of painters from Syracuse. 
AuSable River-west branch, at Wilmington Flume Falls, 14x11" pastel on board 
Having registered for the upcoming Saranac Plein Air event in August, I was somewhat worried about going to paint at an area I did not know anything about, so I decided it was time to join Sharon B., from our local art store, who has been organizing this weekend trip in that area for several years now.

Friday morning we went to Wilmington Flume Falls, where I painted the above scene of the west branch of the Ausable River. I did a lot of walking before finding this shaded spot, at the bottom of a wide trail.  The splashing sounds of people jumping from the rocks and swimming tempted me to get into the water but I was there to paint!  My poor case on wheels took a beating on the way back as I took a different route closer to the canyon edge that was very steep, and to make things worse, I had to carry the painting in my hand because I had left the glassine paper in the car...  I think that rock in the foreground will either have to go or get darker.

Saturday was boat trip day and island hopping.  We rented a boat with an outboard motor at the Saranac Lake Marina and went exploring the lake, then went through a small lock to the Middle Saranac Lake where we saw marshy areas. On the way back we stopped on Island #27 and decided to paint there.

This first painting was a real challenge for me. I felt like giving up on it at some point but continued till the end. It was an exercise on what was important in the composition and of colors at that time of day (early afternoon). Half the trees were left out.
Island #27, first painting, 9x12" pastel on board
Having finished and seeing the others still painting, I tried a second one. This one needs more work. There were bright yellow reflections on the water that I was not able to represent.
Island #27-second painting, 10x8" pastel on board 
On Sunday, three of us were back at Wilmington Flume Falls. This time, I wanted to paint the ski trails of Whiteface Mountain. I knew I couldn't go back home without trying to paint this scene. I asked for permission to paint at the parking lot between the motel and the restaurant where if not the very best view, it was the safest.

At the parking lot of the Hungry Trout Restaurant

Ski Trails at Whiteface Mountain, 11x14" pastel on board
Two funny things happened while there, a woman asked me if I wouldn't mind letting her daughter take a picture of her pretending she was painting my pastel. Of course I did not mind at all especially after seeing a picture of this woman pretending to be carving a bear!  I bet they will have great stories to tell their friends.  Then, when I was packing to leave, a man who worked at the restaurant came to where I was with a small food container for me. It was a piece of berry pie! Both were sweet.

After farewells and directions for several other places to paint, we parted ways. Before my next stop, I saw places along the road that offered great views and parking areas, and stopped to take pics. At Two Monuments, my next destination, there is a section of the Ausable River that is all smooth and the afternoon light was perfect on the opposite side. Halfway into the painting it dawned on me that I must have been very tired when I just couldn't get to make the upper left side work, so I packed; at least I have enough info to finish it at home.

The Ausable at Two Monument, 12x9"pastel on board
I have to say that it was a worthwhile trip. It is always great to paint with people who seem committed to paint.  And seeing the Adirondack High Peaks was the tip of the cake!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Skaneateles Lake, View South, 9x12" en plein air

Skaneateles Lake-View South, pastel on board by Adriana Meiss
  Two weeks ago our plein air group had an invitation to paint at a lake front property on Skaneateles Lake. On arrival, I was tempted to paint the water and the distant hill in front of me, but there wasn't anything special about them: both areas seemed to have little color variation, and I have learned that unless there is something particular about what you want to paint, it is best to forget about it.

  After some checking I found an interesting composition involving part of the cottage, with a group of red Adirondack chairs in the distance as my focal area. The painting did not turn out the way I envisioned so I walked around looking for something else to paint. When I went to the shore the view south really captivated me and in a hurry, before the clouds were gone, I took my open box to a shaded spot and painted the pastel you see here. The scene could have been from any of the Finger Lakes because most of them, when seen to the north or south look like this, with several layers of hills as result from glaciation. I do feel lucky living in this area of NY!
Me painting, photo by Barbara Delmonico