Friday, January 28, 2011

The Never Ending Vacation

You know those vacations that are memorable and exciting at the time, but the rejuvenation from that vacation fades in a few weeks or sometimes even days? Many of my collectors have told me that they look at my work for a while most days whether it is in their office or home. One of my collectors described it this way. They get transported to another place free to energize their mind and soul. Why do people keep buying art when the economy is so challenging? It’s the never-ending vacation. I love being a part of that.

Collectors place their art in locations that provide solace, stimulation, peace, beauty, or a call to action. Placed by the breakfast table, an encouragement to start the day. Near the phone, a stimulation that provides energy. In the bedroom a solace and peacefulness promoting rest. The living room, it transports the imagination. The workplace needs all of the above. Long after the 3-day weekend’s effects are gone, art provides a need that we all have. We all can use a little art in our lives.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Plein Air Experience

What’s different about a plein air artist from “normal” people? Painting on location can be wonderfully lovely, but sometimes it has its challenges. There’s something addictive about the experience for those of us who love it. Here’s a couple of snapshots of outdoor painting.

“Fishing the Stillwater” was a treat to paint. The approaching winter cold in SW Montana was held at bay that day, the fly fisherman appeared as if arranged, and the approaching night’s wintry storm had not even a breath of wind to bother us… a truly peaceful scene.

Read a text I sent another plein air artist this summer that prompted her to call me laughing to commiserate. “Ah, painting outdoors. A great start painting in Barry’s pasture. Hills, cows, flowers, crops… A lovely yellow biplane appears low overhead. I wave anticipating the customary dipping of the wing in return. It starts spraying who knows what? I piled my gear into the trunk in a destructive heap. I lost my lens cap. My I-pod broke even before the plane arrived. Geez! But I still feel happy because I got a great start and photos to work from.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Plein Air- VS -Digital SLR Camera

One of the things I love about painting on location is the way it can present a prolonged moment of time. I’m particularly proud of this painting. It was a day to race the coming raindrops and changing scenery. Clouds in the sky were building to a storm and changing in shape and placement. The sky and water flipped vast areas of color, changing from deep greens and blues, to pinks and purples and pale orange. Almost done painting, raindrops began and I retreated to shelter.

Ever come back from a vacation or a lovely sunset and been disappointed in your photos? There’s nothing like the naked eye. A studio visitor saw my reference photo I took at this painting’s site laying near the painting. Some times things really come together on location and this was one of them. Amazed, she said it was like I made up the painting. I use photos as a backup piece of the information, but as you can see, the real guts of the work happen on site. The painting is closer to seeing with these remarkable eyes we have been given. I have a very nice digital SLR, but it’s really not able to deliver the experience of deep and thoughtful painting on location.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Watercolor Luminosity

It is easy to underestimate the power of luminosity. Part of the unique beauty and power of watercolor is the ability of the paint to allow light to pass through it and reflect light back from the paper. It’s why a watercolor can still be exciting to view in low light. The various colors have differing abilities to do this and that presents some interesting opportunities.

Above the Pacific Ocean, I stood to paint this view of Inspiration Point near Laguna Beach, CA. The area has been a favorite to paint for decades of plein air painters with its fantastic natural beauty. Moving light and color within the waves and active people enjoying swimming and the beach created an exciting challenge.