Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Door County Plein Air Festival 2014

This was my first year participating in the Door County event. I had heard nothing but great things about the festival and I was not disappointed. Forty artists from all over the country were invited to participate. We had great weather and there was lots of good scenery in the area to paint. In the middle of the summer, the days are long, so I was easily able to do 3 paintings per day. This was my first -- a popular ice cream place on the main road. Early in the morning it was empty, but later in the day it was always packed. 
"Before The Rush" 9x12"

This was a property owned by the Door County Land Trust where about a dozen of us painted one day. The light was mixed in the beginning, but later turned sunny. The green sign at the end of the driveway is used throughout the county and indicates the street address. "First House on the Left" 8x16

I was thrilled to gain access to this private property and did several paintings here. The sky and clouds were the last thing I put in, and also the most fun. The whole time I was painting, in the background I heard the intermittent gentle squeaking of the weather vane as it swung atop the silo nearby. "Forty Acres" 8x16

This was a challenge, with customers coming and going the whole time I was painting. Even more difficult was the mix of warm and cool light, both inside and out. It was a general store / museum, selling mostly candy. "Candy Store" 10x8

Back at the farm -- the tall grass was up to my waist and very wet with morning dew at 7:30. My shoes and socks were soaked by the time I was finished. Behind the tractor, and across the street was a big barn with a tree in front of it. I wanted a smaller, simpler structure back there, so after I painted the tractor and everything else, I moved my easel to a view of this farmhouse and put it in with an adjustment to scale and perspective. "Hay Maker" 9x12

I saw this scene on my first day of location scouting. After stopping 4 times to knock on the door to ask permission to set up in the driveway (with no luck), I finally just went ahead and did it. Sometimes I feel like a thief, stealing a view before the owner gets home. "July" 8x10

I couldn't believe how perfect this set up was for me -- the old car, the building, the lamp and flag. The former garage had 2 very old, dusty snowmobiles from the '60's inside. 
"Old Glory" 11x14 

One of my favorites from the week. It wasn't until I was halfway through painting it that I noticed the lightening rod with glass ball on the roof. It didn't sell during the first couple days of the show, and now I'm thinking I just might keep it. "Lightening Rod" 9x12

This was my Quick Paint painting done in 2 hrs on Saturday morning. I was hoping for some sun but . . . The house was for sale, and I know whoever buys it is going to tear it down. Such a prime location. "Cottage View" 9x12

I saw this old Ford sitting behind a repair garage in Fish Creek on an overcast day. The owner let me set up and paint it. I was hoping for some sun, but in the end was content with the soft light. The only painting of the week I did sitting down. "Cream Puff" 8x10

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sonoma Plein Air 2013

This is 9 of the 13 paintings I did during the Sonoma Plein Air event this year. This one was difficult because these buildings were so far away, I had difficulty seeing the details clearly. Normally I would get closer to them, but the field between me and the subject was private property. Back of the Ranch 6x12"

It was a hot day when I discovered this trailer. Fortunately I had my huge patio umbrella with me and was able to stand in the shade. The most difficult and most time consuming painting of the week, I spent over 3 hours staring at this shiny monster. Back Yard Camper 12x16"

I've painted this truck before -- a beautiful old Studebaker. I had not planned to paint it this particular morning, but the light was so perfect at 8am when I saw it on my way to another painting location, that I changed my plans. Big Red 8x12"

By the time I got to this one, I had a good amount of paintings already, so I was more experimental, using stronger colors and simplifying the shapes more. Curve Ahead  11x14"

This view is from within a private vineyard where we had special permission to paint. The challenge was to get the middle ground greens to fade into the distant blues. Harvest Time 12x16"

I had an hour to kill before the Quick Draw began, so I did a little 6x8" of this Airstream I found nearby. Airstream 6x8"

This was my piece for the Quick Draw. This beautiful old brick building used to be a hardware store I'm told. I was pretty happy with it considering I only had 90 minutes, and there was a big truck parked to the left blocking my view of the sidewalk and store windows. Corner Store 8x10"

I've painted this old Chevy many times over the years in Sonoma, but never this small. I wanted to do something using this proportion, but this was the largest canvas I had left. Yellow in shadow often gives me a hard time but feel I captured it fairly accurately. I'm happy with how it came out, and would like to try it on a 12x24" sometime. Old Yeller 6x12"

When I first did my pencil sketch of this, I was immediately excited about the big shadow shapes connecting the barns. Everything came together pretty easily on this one, and I was happy I didn't get stung by any of the bees from the 30 or so hives across the street and behind me. My favorite of the week. Near the Bees  11x14"

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crew Commission

This is the small pencil sketch for a commission painting. I went out on the assistant coach's boat for about an hour, taking photos of my subject in a single. I shot around 110 photos, and this particular set up just seemed perfect from the first moment i saw the photo.

This is a 6x8" oil study.

This is the first stage of the block-in of the final commission painting.

Further along in the block-in.

With the block-in finished, I decided to tackle the face first, knowing that would be the most difficult part.

Finished painting 24x30"

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 Calendars

My new calendars are here! Go to the 'contact' page of my website, click on 'buy now' button, and fill out the necessary fields. $20 each, or 2 for $35, includes shipping.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October workshop in Taos

This was the first painting location for the workshop in Taos. We had perfect weather, with beautiful fall color in the trees. It's difficult to see, but there are 9 painters in this photo.

I did a demonstration painting to start the morning at 9.

La Mirada  6x12"

This is another demo from the town of Arroyo Seco, where we spent day 3. 
Seco Yellow, 8x10"

Afternoon truck demo by popular demand. Seco Truck, 9x12"  sold

On the high road to Taos, I met a guy who lives on about 5 acres, half of which is covered with old rusty cars. I fell in love with this '64 Galaxie.

I had painted an old Cadillac in the morning, and needed a break from heavy structure and drawing. I set up on the same property at the fence line, and painted this view of the neighbors house.

In progress . . .

Penasco Yellow, 9x12"

Another day, another rusty car.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sonoma Plein Air 2012

It was a great week in Sonoma with beautiful fall light and harvest gold colors in the vinyards. I managed to do 12 paintings in 5 days, though one was not worthy of hanging, and another didn't feel quite finished. I tackled this Studebaker on the first day when it reached 103° by 3:00. I was happy to have my huge patio umbrella to shade my easel and me from the direct sun. "Studebaker Morning" 9x12" sold

Half way through this painting, I realized I had painted the scene before, several years earlier, on a different size and proportion canvas. I think this one turned out better. Of all the paintings I had on display Saturday, this one may have gotten the most comments, which surprised me. "Deferred Maintenance" 7x14" sold

The Sonoma event included a "quick draw" Tuesday afternoon, where the artists set up around the square and had an hour and a half to complete a painting, while being distracted by onlookers and a deadline. "Sonoma Hotel" 8x10" sold

This is a road with very little traffic which allowed me to set up my easel and my patio umbrella in the street. I carry orange traffic cones in my truck for just such an occasion. "Down the Road" 11x14"

I had seen this view the day before, and decided to challenge myself, painting into the setting sun across a vineyard. It was amazing to see how fast the colors and values changed in the last 30 minutes before the sun dropped behind the hill. "Harvest Haze" 8x16" sold

I liked the simplicity and clarity of this scene -- house, tree, ground, distant hill, and sky. This house was on a very busy road with traffic roaring past, between me and my subject, and I put earplugs in while I painted. To your list of plein air painting supplies, I recommend adding earplugs and a patio umbrella. This was I felt my best painting of the week, and is the one I took to the gala on Friday night.  "Home Sweet Home" 11x14" sold

I was so pleased with the composition of the painting above, that I decided to come back and try a dusk scene, waiting till just after the sun set before starting to paint. I had very low confidence in my ability to pull it off, and so chose a small 6x8" canvas. I learned that you really only have just over half an hour before the light is so low that you can no longer see color -- just values. And 15 minutes later you can't see anything at all. (add 'flashlight' to the list of supplies) "Sing Me To Sleep" 6x8" sold

I had painted this barn before, but never the red tractor. My umbrella saved me once again in the extreme heat. Dappled light is always a challenge and it seems to work best when I just invent a simplified shadow shape. "One Hundred and Three in The Shade" 12x12"

This was my last painting of the week. I spotted this old car from the street, parked my truck and walked down the driveway toward it. I took a few photos before 2 pit bulls (or similar) charged out from behind the house and pinned me against the back of this car. The owner then came out, and after hearing my explanation called off the dogs. It was a very tense 20 seconds to put it mildly. In the end, the owner was very nice and allowed me to stay and paint the car -- a 1951 Plymouth. Not only did I not lose any blood, but I was pretty happy with the painting when I finished. With all that adrenaline running through my system, there was no need for coffee this particular morning.  "Beware of Dog"  8x10"

Monday, September 24, 2012


These are some photos from the September workshop on Monhegan. There were 13 painters from all over the U.S., and we had a really fun week, with lobster, wine, and lots and lots of painting!

Our first morning, painting on Horn Hill.

Me painting on my free afternoon.

Bob working on an outbuilding near the lighthouse.

The last day, indoor demo, back. . .

. . . and front. Monhegan House dining room.

The group on the front lawn of the Island Inn.

Jim finishing up at the lighthouse.

Our group painting at the lighthouse.

Kevin Beers, me and Errol at our first annual cocktail party hosted by Remak.

Almost the whole group, back row, left to right: Errol, Karen, Jill, Kevin, Remak, Tom. Front: Tony, Connie, Richard, Jim, Bob and me. (not pictured: Nina, Kathy, Manny)

Karen, Bob and Jill at the cocktail party, waiting for the sunset.

All aboard. Finally on our way to Manana! On my last visit to Monhegan 3 years ago, I had tried unsuccessfully to make it over to Manana for a hike. This year I was determined. It took us 3 days for everything to fall into place, and we finally made it, though not with the entire group.

Rusty at the helm, on the way to Manana.

Climbing the ramp onto Manana. Island Inn and the ferry in the background.

This building contains an old engine that used to pull supplies up the ramp to the Coast Guard station.

Abandoned Coast Guard station.

Yes, there are indeed goats on Manana! We spotted 6.

The view from the top of Manana toward Fish Beach.

Me painting the fog at Swim Beach.

Errol and Tom working the morning shift at the lighthouse.

The popular red house at sunset.

My hotel room view on Vinalhaven.