Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Seneca Plain Air Painting Festival, Geneva, NY

Five O'clock Cows, 8x10" pastel on board, 2nd Place Award
I'm very happy to say that I came back home with two awards from this event!
I was very lucky in so many ways. A woman I had met at a workshop I taught last June offered to host me and that made the experience even better. Thank you Bernadette!
Just to warn you, the images were not taken under the best conditions which is something I will need to address fnext time.

DAY 1:
Knowing that one should always be ready to paint a good scene no matter what time of day it is, I had my boards stamped the day before, during the orientation.
The first morning of the event I set up my alarm for 6:00 AM. I wanted to go to the farmers market but decided instead to capture the sunrise from behind the place where I was staying . I knew I would struggle with the bottom part of this painting because of the moving cars, so I ended up not framing it.
Geneva Sunrise, 9x12" pastel on board
Just when I was about to put my things away I saw a delivery truck that would have blocked my way had I decided to drive somewhere. "Should I paint it?" I thought. I have never painted trucks before and normally is something that does not appeal to me. But what's the point of painting if one doesn't find some sort of challenge in it?  I waited to see for any indication that it was going to stay for a while and seeing a man pulling forward several boxes from the back, I started planning my strategy. First, was finding the right placement for the truck, making sure I did not have any important lines escaping at the corners. Then I had to establish the truck's boundaries in case it would leave. I took several photos just in case. Fortunately for me the truck stayed half an hour or so and afterwards I felt more relaxed to deal with the background.

Delivery Truck, 10x8, pastel on board
 After lunch I took Rt.14 S in search of farmland or a lake view to paint. I found my scene on Reed Rd. under a nice shade and enough space to park by the roadside.

A Bend on Reed Rd, 9x12", pastel on board
 Afterwards, I continued scouting the area and a few minutes later found my next scene at a Menonite Farm. What attracted me first to this scene was a tree in the very distance and the yellow light. The cows could be a problem, but again, I had to try. First, I asked for permission to park in the driveway and getting it I proceeded to paint. Towards the end, the setting sun was casting beautiful orange light on the cows. I stopped painting to take photos, but in my head I remembered instructors saying that the important thing when capturing animals while painting outdoors is their gesture, so I gave it a try thinking that back at home I could fix anything I did not like. That is the painting on top. Before leaving I thanked the young woman for letting me paint there, she asked me to show her my painting. We had a short conversation in which she told me she painted on saw blades. I also ended buying fresh eggs!

I wanted to paint vineyards on the west side of the lake. I found a nice lake view from Travis Rd. Bernadette, my hostess, who had come along to paint, spotted a scarecrow. We asked for permission to paint under the shade of trees, which not only was granted but we were also allowed to park on the owner's driveway (Thank you Peggy L!).
There was early morning haze which I new would dissipate soon, so I worked on it first. Midway I realized I had not recorded the foreground colors of the vines, a mistake that got me into a little trouble later on. By the time I was almost finished the bright yellows I had on the foreground vines did not seem to agree with the haze of the middle ground so I had to replace the yellows with more subdued greens.  The wind blew my painting away while I was putting things back in the van, but I repaired the damage right away. Lesson learned.

On Duty, 11x14" pastel on board
  Because it was getting much windier, I felt I had to be careful with my next location. I went along Rt 14 and on Hansen Point Rd I found a house with a barn on top of a hill. There was no sheltered place to paint from so I parked by the side of the road and opened the hatch hoping it would offer some protection from the sun and wind. I had my umbrella with me but it would have been blown away. So I applied on a lot of sunblock and started to paint. The point I'm trying to make is that no matter what your plans are, when you see your "scene" you just figure how to make it happen.
I liked the hilliness of the terrain, the textures, and the soy field at the bottom, but it was the barn that I liked the most, which somehow looked so lonely withstanding the wind. There was a house in between the barn and the white (blue here) shed, but it had to go.

Farm on a Hill, 12x9", pastel on board  
Right after, I headed to the yacht club but nothing inspired me there, besides, I was afraid of the possibility of tree branches falling on me while painting, as I had seen several on the road. I continued along East Lake Rd and saw gorgeous scenery. At this time, the late sun was casting orange tones on the opposite side of the lake and the dark blue clouds made a nice contrast with the yellow fields, but there weren't that many places to paint by the roadside. Turning back I spotted a farm with a shed and some horses. I decided to try my hand at painting with oils. It went bad from the get go so it will have to be finished in my class. I wish I had painted a pastel instead!

DAY 3: Paintout
The rain woke me up. I wondered if the paintout at  Pulteney Park would be cancelled because of it, but on approaching the park I noticed several tents for registration and for anyone who needed to paint under one. I went around looking for a subject to paint from places were my pastels wouldn't get wet, but I had to settle on painting under a tent. The view I chose was somewhat complicated, but interesting so I mapped things down before starting.  Because there were buildings in the background, it was important to get the perspective right, as well as the placement of the fountain. After that, it was a matter of getting the right temperature and depth. All I can say is that I'm very happy the judges liked it. I think this was the first time they had three awards for this event. 
Pulteney Park Fountain, 9x12", pastel on board, 2nd Place Paintout
On Saturday afternoon there was the gala and auction where the winners were announced. It was also a chance to talk with fellow artists. I was really surprised at my getting another award for Five O'clock Cows (top). which also sold!


Donna T said...

What a great review of your experience, Adriana! I can't believe that a truck blocked you in and rather than panic you just painted it! All of your paintings are just gorgeous - and big for plein airs! Congrats on the award and the sale too!

Adriana Meiss said...

Hi Donna, and thank you! I found all the parking signs in the city very confusing. My hostess had let me park in her garage so it would have been easier to walk and take my rolling case if I wanted to paint a city scene.

Semen Rendi said...
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