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"