Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Week Away

This morning I’m finishing my packing.  It’s time to travel north to the Terrace Inn at Bayview where I will be Artist In Residence for the week.  It’s a wonderful experience. 

Bayview is a Methodist Chautaqua on the shore of the Bay.  Sitting on the grounds with my sketchbook listening to the performers practice during the day while I look out over the Bay or at one of the many gardens and/or Victorian cottages; God is good, life is good.

Last year I worked on monoprints.  These are two that I did; one a bedroom at the Inn and the other the dining room with the morning sun streaming in.

Morning Pink Bedroom

This year I’ll be doing plein air.  It’s a perfect spot for that just being on the grounds; however, we also have time to go off site so plans are to visit a nearby Lavendar Farm and a couple of other sites. 

Wednesday evening the Inn will host a reception from 4 to 6 so if you happen to be in the area, stop in and say hello.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Tree That Was

The last time I was out sketching was in 2007 and this is one of my sketches done at that time.

June 14 tree done in 2007

We went back to that same site today.  Two things have changed – the tree and my ability to zero in on a subject.  Neither has changed for the better.  The tree has died and instead of zeroing in on the tree which is what I had intended to paint, I tried to put way too much in.  The result is only so/so but it does remind me that I need to focus on my subject.

June 14, across the river, from Jane's

I also need to do more brushwork.  For the past several years I have been doing very careful drawings and then pouring paint so very little brushwork has been going on in this studio.  It shows.

I don’t plan to quit doing the poured pieces, I love doing them; however, I do want to be able to paint with a brush again too.  The answer – practice.  I really do enjoy being outside, feeling the warm sun, listening to nature, it’s calming.  I’ll keep doing both.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Plein Air & A History Lesson

Plein air painting is still an interpretation of reality, even though I am seeing the scene first hand. My "truth" is far more interesting to me than the scene in reality. Linda Blondheim

I’ve been posting my own plein air pieces … this is the most recent done a couple days ago while sitting on a friend’s deck.

June 7 Betsy's flowers

When one of my friends told me she had to look up plein air because she didn’t know what it meant it occurred to me that others may not know either.  So, A History Lesson….

Plein air is French and literally means ‘open air;’ painting outside, in the open air.  In Italian one would say they were painting ‘alfresco’.

It isn’t a technique that has always been used.  Prior to 1800, artists had to make their own pigment using a mortar and pestle.  All paintings were done in the studio, including landscapes.

It wasn’t until 1800 that artists were able to get their paint in tubes.  That gave them a freedom they hadn’t had when they mixed up their own paints.

tube paints

Plein air is a term that is often associated with Impressionism though the two are not synonymous.  However, it did influence the movement.

Teta Collins writes in The Artists Bluebook:  Painting from life is a pursuit unlike any other painting technique.  It challenges artists to concentrate completely on the information in front of them.  their senses absorb it all, from sight to sound, from temperature to atmosphere, then channel these feelings into their vision in paint on paper or canvas… Painting en plein air would forever change how we see the world.”

Some artists using the technique today paint their major works start to finish en plein air, others use plein air works for studies, still others use it just because they like painting outdoors and some, like me, use it to help them improve their skills.

You can see more plein air work by Michigan artists at these sites:  Plein Air Painters of West Michigan and Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Association

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Something New To Tell You About

I am so happy to be able to introduce you all to a new blogger -- my good friend Annie Morgan has finally joined the blogging world after a whole lot of bugging from yours truly.  She is such a creative being and I've mentioned her often in my blog posts when I've used a technique that I learned about from her and I have so wanted to be able to put a link in to her blog or web site so you can see her wonderful work.  Now I can!  Go see and let her know you stopped by --

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sun, Wind and Water

Saturday was beautiful but windy.  I sat on the beach, listened to the pounding surf and sketched the the stairs coming down to the beach.  God has created a beautiful world and I find that is especially true in Michigan.  I do love my state.

I traveled south to Fennville where they were hosting a paint out at Pier Cove Park.  The lovely lavender Money Plant blossoms where out, the beach grass was spreading, the sand was warm and even though my sketch shows that I need to work at this more – it was fun.  This is part of the scene I was working on, without the other artist. 

what I was painting

Weathered wood and texture are among the things that I am drawn to so this was a natural, besides I liked the way the sun was warming me when I sat viewing this scene.

unfinshed sketch

I didn’t finish.  A lesson learned that day; don’t plan on painting for a long time if there are no bathrooms close by. 

half of sketch other half

Here’s another scene I liked but the sun was wrong for painting it.  Not necessarily for the scene but for the way it was hitting me.scene not painted shoreline

On the way back home I stopped for lunch and found these beautiful Iris outside the restaurant.  The Iris, especially this color, is one of my favorite flowers.

Iris 2 iris 1

Inside the restaurant while I waited for my lunch, I did a little sketching.  I wonder, perhaps a series of Salt and Pepper Shakers…. hmmmm.

at lunch for web

Plein Air Painting is a wonderful way to spend a day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer is here and the fresh air is wonderful!

Week 2 of my plein air excursions – it’s been a long time since I’ve done this seriously and the paintings show it; however, I’m loving it and expect to see improvement as the summer progresses.

Last week I was at Harbor Island on the Linear Park path looking across the channel at Grand Haven’s Coal Tipple.

May 24 Coal Tipple

This week we biked to Harbor Island again but to the other side of the island.  It was incredibly windy which was distracting since we had to hold things down.  I lost one brush in the water, fortunately it wasn’t a good brush.  

My subject was the pilings and the reeds along the bank of the river.  I intended to do a full spread but the wind got the best of me and I only finished one of the 2-page spread.

May 31 Harbor  Island  1

May 31 Harbor Island 2

Tomorrow Morning I’m heading down to Fennville for a Plein Air Paint Out at Pier Cove. 

I’m also working on studio paintings and soon will be taking the mask off two; I’ll post when I do.