Completed en plein air with my painting buddy at Burke Lake, Point to Point depicts that not-yet-fall atmosphere which I have grown to love.The water was calm except for when a slight breeze kicked up. We sat along the walking path and got to extol the virtues of pastels as we would answer the questions of passers-by: pastels are not chalks, crayons, or watercolors. They are pure pigment, essentially oil paints without the oil, but with a little binder added instead.
Education of the public about the beauty of pastel is a large part of the mission of pastel painters who work plein air.
Point to Point
pastel with watercolor underpainting on UArt 400
Join me for another round at the DLA HQ Atrium outside the Gift Shop. This time, I will be there just three days, Monday December 6 through Wednesday December 8, with demos from 9a-2p daily. Look especially for small works of local places.
This year, all my of small works at the Workhouse coordinate. They hang salon-style in a column of five on the first floor of W-16, working beautifully together. And they are selling fast. Replacements will be arriving Wednesday when the Workhouse reopens.
The overall collection on the first floor of W-16 is so much fun - scaled down versions of the usual larger works or all out divergence from the status quo. It is wonderful to see the creativity of my fellow artists and to include the Studio Artists in W-16.
Among other things, this exhibit will have a People's Choice element to choose one Associate Artist (those juried into the Workhouse and choosing not to have a studio) and one Studio Artist (juried in and choosing to have a studio), with the winners to receive solo shows in the spring in W-16.
I have three pieces on display, but Skyline Stands is the one up for People's Choice. Sure would enjoy a solo show next Spring as the People's Choice Associate, so get out and vote, people!
Occoquan is a quaint town near both me and the Workhouse Arts Center. Having a quaint town only a couple miles away is quite convenient, both in proximity and in the cause of getting other painters to come out to create.
The Occoquan docks and marina areas have undergone an effective overhaul which makes it easier to both paint and find beautiful subjects. I pulled out my artistic license on this one, as I appreciate chances to make things in the landscape red.
This has been a wonderful autumn for painting as I've been concentrating on smaller works. I sure appreciate my painting buddies for revisiting old haunts as well as blazing new trails.
The latter was the case for me in going to Chrysalis Vineyards near Middleburg, Virginia recently. One usually thinks of traditional fall foliage in the trees, however the vines showed off extraordinary color well before them. As a landscape painter, I don't get to use reds that often, but not so this day!
Sky Meadows is a beautiful state park near the tip top of Virginia. The view is spectacular. These fluffy clouds adorned the early fall sky and I chose to paint them instead of the early changing foliage.
I especially love it when I can paint, finish, and can just move my set up 180 degrees to begin painting again. Sky Meadows offers that opportunity.
This barn will become central to Lee's composition, although not not focal point.
Lee used an 11x14 Mars Violet-tinted piece of mounted linen.
This is the way people who paint in local color see the color and light.
This is the Impressionistic way to see light. Note, the focus is on the light, not the color.
Lee crafts these large and well-balanced palettes and their accompanying cases.
Beginning with the greatest source of light, Lee scratched in a pale yellow and tops that with a Cerulean blue for the sky. He put in the middle light value, the land mass, and then darkened the verticals/trees in the distance. The primary three landscape structures - the sky, land, and verticals - with their accompanying values were in quickly as references for the rest of the painting process.
Lee's goal was for the road and shadows to be his focal point.
The figure provided balance for that side of the board.
After this point, Lee put in a lot of time with the finishing details.
The light had changed so much that I must apologize for the differences. I wound up using two different cameras, so the colors vary as well.
While I consider myself a rather Impressionistic painter, I now believe I am a more local color painter, this despite plenty of purples in the shadows, pushing other colors, lots of blending, and often inventing skies.
Pastelists traditionally begin with darks, because pastel lights are too hard to effectively cover with darks later on. Pastelists are usually in the singular during demos and paint outs, too, so our difference can be evident!
Almost like a watercolorist (which he is, although he was using oils this day), Lee began with the sky, establishing his lightest light first. I certainly see the value of beginning with the sky and could see doing that and juxtaposing it against the darkest darks early on, as long as the lights are something I don't want to cover with darks later.
The Springfield Art Guild and Friends of Green Spring Garden Park Fall 2010 Art Show And Sale runs until October 25 at various venues within Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria. My three pastels are all housed in the horticultural center.
Also in SAG news, the annual show at Goodwin House, 4800 Fillmore Ave. in Alexandria, will have a Opening reception and Power Point show featuring the artists' paintings and statements for this "On My Vacation" exhibit from 3-5pm on October 17. This show runs October 2 through November 20.
All four of my entries are on one wall at the Workhouse this month! Come out and see my miniature Featured Artist gig during Second Saturday tonight from 6-9pm with food, awards, interior design, and lots of art.
The actual Featured Artist in Gallery W-16 is fellow pastel (and watercolor) pal, Ariel Freeman, so don't miss her show.
Clockwise from left: Heron Pond, Late Summer (8x10 pastel); Day Ends (8x10 pastel); Evening Show (9x12 oil); and Cape May Canal (9x12 pastel.)
As found in Subaru's magazine, check out a good article about plein air competition. (I actually bought my Matrix for its plein air-friendly features.)
Even though Easton (and Annapolis, Riverbend, etc, for that matter) are right in my back yard, the bottom section of the article has become a wish list for future vacations. Once I can take off during the week, I will put my competitive juices to better use!
Almost a year ago, I posted my first effort at Heron Pond, Solitude in Splendor, which featured dramatic fall foliage. Several weeks ago, I was able to go back to the same stretch along the neighborhood's walking trail. Unlike ever before, I was struck by the beauty of late summer and this painting shows just that. It is of the same area as the first, but makes the small point the focus instead of the foliage. The reflected sky is daring and almost all watercolor.
Continuing my fascination with square canvases, I have progressed from 3x3 for the Workhouse to 10x10 for PONSHOP and have now regressed to 6x6 for LibertyTown's 6x6x6 show, one to not exceed six inches in any direction.
The exhibit Opening is October 1 from 5-9pm and the show runs until October 31.
Much like the pieces for the Workhouse 3x3 show which ended earlier this month, these 6x6 works on stretched canvas also capture geological cross sections and the treasures withim.
Following are Stalagmite, Subterrane, and Fracture. All feature water media, black gesso, antique book biology figures, and semi-precious stones like star ruby, star sapphire, moonstone, peridot, garnet, rhodolite garnet, and quartz.
Springfield Mall is undergoing major renovations and Springfield Art Guild will benefit as a result. Stores are being shifted and spaces open. On this rotating basis, SAG will have a Community Room to use for art classes, demos.and meetings. On the second Wednesday, SAG meets there monthly at 7:30pm.
Here are some inside shots of the member's gallery on one side and the long mural designed and created by talented members on the other. In addition to this, members exhibit in the Mall corridor outside the Community Room.
The pictures don't do the mural justice. Come by to see it, located between JC Penney and the Information Desk on the first floor.
Much of my work is done en plein air, French for "in the open air." People often associate it with the Impressionists, but the move to paint outside preceded them by a number of decades. The trend to appreciate landscapes as a genre at all was new for the time.
Several characteristics contribute to the distinctive beauty of en plein air painting. They are generally smaller in size in order to be able to capture a scene in a single sitting. Because of the time limit and environmental factors such as the sun and shadows moving, they often lack extensive details and might appear slightly fuzzy or unfinished. Lastly, they tend to have a freshness and spontaneity which makes them impossible to compare to traditional and methodological studio work. That said, my own studio work tends toward the same feel as en plein air, which then identifies my overall style: softness with an edge.
My aim when painting en plein air is for alla prima paintings, which roughly translates for me as "what happens outside, stays outside." It adds another level of difficulty to the work.
These are some local places for landscape painting; most are within an hour of the Beltway. Look here for the complete album, a couple hundred views from my photography collection, which are mapped here.