Prepping the palettes

Today was the day I sat down with my two “travel” palettes to refill and reorganize. I will be doing a week of plein air over at the Clark at the beginning of October so this will give them a little time to set up and behave. I’m waiting for the Fed Ex guy to arrive with my new tripod, having realized the other night the head on the other one wasn’t working right – it looks like it’s missing a part. It works but doesn’t lock the plate in place. So here’s to v.2.

My goal today is to get it all into a backpack. Come on Fed Ex guy!

Advertisements

Painter…

I signed up for another weeklong painting class (not just watercolor – do your own medium, but plain air with some bonus stuff from The Clark) through IS183.org. October 1 is too early for real snow, right?

The painter of the future will be a colorist in a way no one has been before. — Vincent van Gogh

August Already?

That means it’s time for August Postcard Poetry once more. This year I really feel the struggle between words and painting/visual stuff, but will endeavor on. First a quote via Brain Pickings:

The world is violent and mercurial – it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. — Tennessee Williams

Today on Facebook we kept on keeping on but we put some extra effort into posting some funny stuff and we succeeded! Almost felt like the interwebs of days gone by but in these days having some funny stuff (even obligatory cat photos are good) is super important. I explored the web and the non-news-news awhile and just posted interesting and often pretty things. It’s all good.

In that vein, I have been lax in uploading and sharing photos of recent sunsets and clouds seen locally:

First, July 27, 2018:

27 July 2018 Sunset and Clouds//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

on an evening with a lot of still-coming weather.

The next night I went to a local conservation area after work and arrived just in time to take these photos. I then quickly set up my painting gear, put some cobalt blue onto paper to start the sky and promptly got rained on. (The good news – the next day I brushed the pages of the sketchbook with clear water and was able to remove ALL the blue and use those pages for something else!)

28 July 2018 clouds and approaching storm//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

And then tonight, wherein I stopped because of a band of huge towering white clouds which had moved far off by then. There were already a few people snapping away at the setting sun but I took a lot of photos of the rest of the clouds too.

4 Aug 2018 clouds//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sunday Road Trip

This morning, it couldn’t quite make up its mind re rain but then the sky opened up to blue and the car pointed northward.

I wasn’t convinced I’d get a chance to paint without getting rained on, so I headed up to Bennington. Wandered around the Old First Church’s graveyard where Robert Frost is buried and looked at a lot of other interesting gravestones. Many of them had quotes on them, including Frost’s with its oft-cited “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world”. There’s a nice little trio of birches planted near the Frost family graves.

I thought this was an interesting snippet of verse made more interesting by the problem of gravestones being vertical rather than horizontal:

Could modest worth elude the grasp of death
This virtuous fair had ne’r resign’d her breath
She ne’r had wing’d the long, the glorious flight
To seats of bliss, to realms of sparkling light.

Then I drove down 7 enjoying the views of Pownal VT. This led me right to The Clark. I went in and got tagged (being a member includes free entry) and filled my waterbottle before walking part way up the hill. There I sat in the shade and painted while people walked up and down the path. I could watch them visiting with the cows who at one point took over the paved path. A woman walked by with two chihuahuas and I soon heard serious barking but the cows didn’t budge. As the trio walked back past me I mentioned I’d heard some attempt to do cow-herding? The lady laughed and said these were city dogs and had never encountered cows before but now they had. And hopefully the experience would have tired them out for the remainder of their trip home.

Here’s what I painted, first in my sketchbook and then two on paper. Little kids were curious as were many adults. One boy asked me LOTS of serious questions: what was the second pot of water on the ground for (brush cleaning)? why were there no cows (will do them last. He pointed right to the spot where the cows SHOULD be!) had I done the painting lying on the grass too? (yes). A couple people told me I’d “nailed” the clouds. One lady told me she did acrylics because she didn’t get how to keep the colors separate in watercolors. Ah…

For more photos, here’s a Flickr album to click on:

22july18 roadtrip//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Hot enough for you?

It’s been a week of heat. And by heat I mean 90F plus with 100F plus heat index (really? it FEELS hotter?) Yesterday the car thermometer kept telling me it was 99F-100F. When I finally got home last night it was a chill 80F plus.

Days like that means my goal is to find places with AC and to deal with it. Lots of people go to the mall which is my workplace. It’s not conducive to painting because the paint dries quickly on the paper and palette, making it harder to blend colors and soften edges. But we do it anyway because it is

Ever since the first shaggy hunter outlined a running deer with a stick dipped in wood ash or puddle clay or blood, paint has served a vastly more significant and creative purposeas a vehicle for the human imagination, a creator of illusions, the modest but endlessly pliable means of fixing a glimpse of loveliness for posterity. The true originators in this field have always been the great artists. But close behind these masters of illusion came the masters of the applied arts designers, architects, decorators, legions of craftsmen whose vocation was to reflect contemporary standards of beauty and harmony. — Jocasta Innes

What I Learned on My Vacation

There might not have been any lying around on beaches, sipping iced beverages and reading trashy novels but it was a great vacation. As you’ve seen, I spent the week with two other painters and an instructor Tony Conner from Vermont, learning about watercolor while painting scenes found in the Berkshires. This was a class offered through IS183, and if you’re looking to explore a new medium or go deeper in one you know, I highly recommend their offerings.

So what came of the five days spent with paint and a teacher. As with all media most of the work happens between your head and the paper but the process definitely gets a push if there’s a good teacher and you’re open to listening and trying and being open to doing things a different way, at least for the class. Tony is a very good teacher and able to explain the concepts and look at what I was doing to make concrete suggestions on how to proceed or what to try next time. At the end of our time each day we’d have a gentle critique, looking at the work we’d done that day and saying what we liked, where we’d struggled and what might have gone better. On the last day I put all my pieces on the grass and you really could see a progression – a small one – but the one I had worked on.

It’s easy to hear “oh that’s great! that’s beautiful!” when you show your work but it’s not always getting to what you had wanted in the end. That’s why we keep working and trying to learn, do more practice, watch more videos, read more etc etc. So at the end of the week, I could honestly say that I’m at the beginning of learning more about setting myself up to paint a scene – drawing, putting in the light and shadow areas down in washes and planning out and getting in the dark areas etc etc.

What else? As if that wasn’t enough? I already knew I like to paint outdoors. I’ve not always been a very outdoorsy sort of person and lately the whole tick thing really gets to me. This gets me outside, in the sun, soaking up the world and focusing on the beauty of it. Can’t beat that.

As I said Friday, I don’t want my paintings to look like photographs – I have a camera for that. I want to show more about what it was like to be there and let the viewer do some of the work of feeling it.

I used more paint in the five days than I could believe! I learned how to mix greens and only dipped a little into my normal greens that I carry. I learned how to mix real darks. I learned I really like real sable brushes. oh oh…

More to come!

Thursday, Already?

Yes it’s Thursday night and I’ve been super-bad about getting photos on here from the week-long watercolor class I’m taking. I can’t believe tomorrow’s the last day!

The first day was 92F and I think we were all suffering from it. The rest of the week has been “jewel of the summer” a-prime, stupendous weather so I can’t complain at all. Locations were good, teacher was good, learned stuff, did some serious stretching and have that feeling like what I knew has been shook up and will have to settle down again.

If you’re in the area, check out the offerings from IS183 – they have classes for everyone and all ages!

Here are the photos I took (plus a bonus one of me painting, taken by one of the IS183 folks).

En Plein Air Watercolor Class 2018//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js