Doing a little painting in the New Year

January has been moderately cold and very gray and rainy. Not great for painting outside. A few days when the sun has popped out I’ve run out to chase it and at least take a few photos to document that the sun is still around!

Sunday I painted in the car and did these two versions of a scene down at Ooms Conservation Area.

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Happy 2019!

After staying up last night til midnight and doing the traditional door opening to let the old year out and new year in, I did step out on the porch to see what the new year was all about and it was all about the heavy rain and wind.

This morning was cloudy and very windy which made for interesting skies. I stopped at various places in New Lebanon to take some photos. It was too cold to set up outside so I grabbed some breakfast and then drove up the hill to just past the state line. There’s a convenient scenic overview there so I sat in my car and painted for a bit.

A good way to start the year. Then I came home and continued what I’d started the day before, clearing out some stuff that needed clearing.

Painting and Looking

Sunday I drove home the long way, scouting for places to paint.

It was quite cold, but lots of fog and low hanging clouds making it interesting. Took some photos and made some mental notes on future painting spots. Anyway, having just finished a class about simplifying and focusing on shapes and values, out came this:

Still trying to come to grips with hot press paper which just acts different from the cold press I’ve been using all along but it has some redeeming qualities after I get past the “why is it doing that?” feelings. My other two local teachers had each noted that when I worked in a smaller sketchbook with smoother paper that it seemed to suit my style so I’m giving it a college try.

Pleasure is a shadow, wealth is vanity, and power a pageant; but knowledge is ecstatic in enjoyment, perennial in frame, unlimited in space and indefinite in duration. — De Witt Clinton

Goodbye Cerulean Blue…

Hello Manganese Blue Hue.

I’m taking it as a good sign that many of this palette’s colors needed topping off. I seized the moment to replace that cerulean blue with a new color to see if that suits my eye better.

The days of comfortable en plein air are numbered at this point so I spent a good part of today out at a local conservation area. I’d forgotten the pens I meant to bring to do homework for an online class so I used my rigger brush instead and had a good time.

Pro tip: make sure there’s no other paintings around before you start spattering…

Gratuitous haiku:

Hello Manganese
Goodbye Cerulean Blue
I’m ready to paint

Plein Air October 2018

Here are all the pix from the week of plein air painting with Bob LaFond:

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

Sunday

I headed back to the Clark because it was my last chance to see the installation of Jennifer Steinkamp’s video works. I was sorry I hadn’t gone earlier but I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. It wasn’t what I was expecting for some reason and it was hard not to keep watching the wall-size works. Two really grabbed me – Diaspora which started as as interesting composition of branches and things and then they began to move through the virtual space, running into the boundaries of the walls and corners and breaking into lots of small parts (the description mentioned the dispersal of spores) and then reversing path and gathering up again into a composition. The other, Blind Eye, was a head-on view of birch tree trunks that light played over and then a rotation of seasons, dropping leaves, slowly then quickly, moving and swaying with wind, budding and forming catkins and leafing out and then yellowing and dropping the leaves again.

I had thought to do some painting but as I set out from the car it was very misting so I stopped at the closest picnic table ready to dash back to the car.

Then I tried one that showed the scene more accurately and the sun came out.

Then I thought about going up the hill, stopped at the bottom to do a really quick sketch and it began to rain. Went and had dinner with Mom instead.

Being An Artist and Why Moms Rock

Tonight after we messaged our good nights, I get a message from Mom with a link

6 Ways to Balance Your Day Job
with Being an Artist

It tells of a doctor who also teaches pastel classes and how he combines his work life with making art, in six ways. I’m going to list them here but do read the article for his details. I was so touched by Mom sending me this link and also pretty happy because some of these things I have been figuring out on my own and they’re true! The article discusses these:

1. Do 20- to 30-minute timed studies, without prep work.
2. Always have a palette and painting gear ready to go.
3. Keep painting clothes in the car.
4. Learn to love what’s local.
5. Teach or join a class.
6. Set goals and clear intentions.

1. I used a timer when I quilted both to keep on task and to keep from over-doing and causing injury. Painting, I’m trying to get started sooner, more directly, and do more shorter/smaller paintings. I tend to get too fussy and stopping sooner and staying simpler is a continuing theme.

Sketching in scene at OOMs

2. Gear is in the car and has been for awhile. Recently I moved from an LLBean type tote bag to a backpack and upgraded my tripod. My goal was to simplify my gear – it’s way too easy to bring way too much stuff – to make it easier to go a little distance more easily. The tripod fits into a side pocket of the pack and a couple clips take care of my folding chair. Having it all in the car though means I can stop on the way home or after an errand or I can grab out a sketchbook and small palette and brushes and just go do something. I would add to this: have some duplication of gear if you can so that you don’t have to take everything out of the car if you want to work at home.

3. I don’t keep painting clothes in the car except for big brimmed hat and my hiking boots. My work clothes are pretty casual though and I’d wear them anyway. (I do keep a couple t-shirts in there in case I get called to a current-events type rally/protest)

4. This came up in class today, that you can spend a lot of time driving around looking for places to paint or you can just figure out to paint in your yard and spend the time painting. Although I have painted a little in the front yard lately, I have figured out a few places along my travels and not too far from home to go and paint. I can choose based on light conditions or where I’m going but it saves a lot of time. I figure if Monet could paint a cathedral multiple times I could find something to paint at my local pond or master the geraniums. I do try to take alternate routes when traveling to scout out new places to paint.

5. I can say that I’ve enjoyed each watercolor class I’ve taken locally. I’ve been encouraged and supported and learned stuff. And, even more importantly, it is a commitment to spend time doing this. Side bonus: people think you’re more serious if you say you’re taking a class and that’s ok too.

6. I don’t know if I have set goals exactly but I’m sort of going with – what’s the point of waiting? Do it now.

Bonus: Buy flowers and fruit to paint and use the cats as models. Thanks Mom!