Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This past week along with a bunch of hardy PPAP painters I went back out to paint in the brisk, brisk, OK--FRIGID outdoors along the Brandywine Creek on the grounds of the Brandywine River Museum. The weatherman promised it would be 45 out, but we all know how much the weatherman can lie.
We started the day by visiting the museum and looking at the great paintings by Pyles, Cornwell and Wyeths and then having some lunch and taking art. After Slugging down one more cup of joe we all headed into the cold to paint.
Gabriel, who is from LA and attend the MFA at PAFA with me said his feet had never been so cold.
Alina and will set up down the river from Gabriel and me and Sean set up about 40 yards up from me on the other side.
I had on 2 pairs of socks, sweat pants under my paints and a thick T and 2 layers of coats. My hands still started to get cold though and my eyes would tear up. It was so cold off the river with the breeze that my phone actually died. I would have snapped more pics but even after I got in the car to try and warm it up it died again. When we were in the museum we were looking at a big painting by Edward Redfield who was a man's man, going out in all weather to paint plein air every day, carrying his large canvases out into the New Hope area and painting some amazing snow scenes.
So how can we do any less, we painters of the 21st century? I was thinking how the shorter time and the cold really forces you to have to think. The cold makes you think--makes you think you want to go back inside before you toes burn from frostbite!
The paint behaves different too it get thicker and sluggish so I did use liquin fine detail to cut it and keep it flowing.
One of the good things about returning to a place you have painted before you spend less time choosing a spot to paint. I love that rusty old train bride so i went for that, it was pretty sunny when we started but by the time we got going the clouds came in and it became very grey. Then the sun blasted out after the wind came through and I was able to finally punch back into the bed of middle values with some color and lighter values to catch the sun.
When the sun came through it not only cleared the clouds away it also launched Alina's painting into the river which Will was just able to save before it was wept away as an offering to the Paint Gods.
Sean's strong block-in
Here is my start
I was trying to keep it to big simple shapes and would keep re-massing if I got too picky too soon, Finally with my hands to cold to paint anymore I packed it in along with the rest of the crew. It was a fun day that gave us some good results.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Last weekend I got out to finally paint plein air after a busy month of school and commercial gigs. I really wish I had gone the week before since there would have been more color as that one week had a biggest wet/cold snap and most of the color was gone in a 2-3 day period.
There was still more colorful trees in the city or around my area as it hasn't been quite as cold here as it gets in the countryside like the Brandywine.
I set up trying to use a tree to block the wind and i also liked the long view it gave me.
Will was across from em painting the same trees and field but decided to face the elements with his pochade box, which is much heavier than my French easel.
But it was a good day to get out anyway and our group of Will, Alina and Shawn made the most of it. I had been down through this area in the summer when it was really crowded with families, hikers, etc. It's right off the Brandywine Creek and near an old Indian trail the N C Wyeth and Frank Schoonover used to take from Howard Pyle's house. It was pretty windy so the view I really wanted to paint would have been impossible with the French Easel. It was really hard as it was after about 20 minutes as it seemed a cold front was moving in and the winds really started gusting. At times I literally was holding the whole rig down with my left arm and painting with my right--but eventually the wind which must have been gust to at least 25 MPH lifted and tossed my whole rig over, painting, paint, terps--all of it.
My phone also died or I would have taken more pictures. That could front also dramatically changed the light as it went from partly cloudy to mostly cloudy in less than 20 -30 minutes. But these are just the issues you have to deal with painting out doors and the unpredictability of Mother Nature. So after the wind slapped my easel and painting down and only a tiny amount of terps left I righted the rig and had to make some bold choices. I had plenty of Liquin, so I grabbed my biggest flat and went at the painting figuring I had nothing to loose now and about 20 minutes before the light was totally gone. In the end I was happy with what I ended up with as a painting even though it might not have been the painting I originally planned or thought of. I was forced to make bolder choices and that I feel was a good thing and in a way reflected the day, windy, cold and very November.
My hands were freezing by the end and everybody was pretty cold so we packed it up and headed back to Will and Alina's for burgers and soup! MMMM Good!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The PPAP was invited to participate in the 2nd annual FAF Festival hosted by the City of Woodbury, NJ, just a hop over the bridge from Philly. Jacqualynn Knight, the Creative Director contacted me a few weeks ago and was excited to invite the group of us over to plein air paint in the churches and scenes live as the event as it happened on Saturday and gave us a spot to sell and display our work on Sunday. It was a great time and great weather and a great opportunity to paint and talk to a lot of people.
Saturday we all arrived around 9-ish and signed in and then moved over to Braod Street and found spots to start painting. I was incredibly beautiful weather wise and a perfect day to paint. Jenn Polillo and Alexandra Thomas and I set up to paint the Memorial United Methodist Church, while William Sentan and Alina Osipove moved off to paint another church around the corner. Niloofar Gholamrezaei, who is in the MFA with me at PAFA set up in the parking lot behind the church.
Jennifer set up near our table and showed us a great painter's stance as she worked away on her first painting.
Here is my painting of the Methodist Church, I had to work quick and had a lot of people come over and watch me work and ask me a lot of questions about my work and hat I do, if I do this all the time. I find it so funny that people always ask the same questions, "Are you and artist?" and "Are you painting that?" I am always tempted to answer NO to both!
Later in the day after lunch we all switched places to start more paintings. The shadows started to grow and the light was so great, but the time to get something down was really short, in 15 minutes the light at this time of day changes a lot of things.
My second painting was pretty much a wash, but that's the way it goes painting outside. We wrapped it up and all went home pretty charged and also pretty beat from a long day of painting outside. Plein Air painting is a weird combo of relaxation and intense concentration at times as you have to race and make decisions as the light can suddenly change and then you have to decide what you are going to do--change and race the light or use your memory.
Niloofar did a a great little painting, she had a better idea than I did.
I did take a break and walk down the train tracks a way. I love tracks like this and the smell of the diesel oil takes me right back to being a kid wandering the train tracks by my house in Detroit.
A few trains did come by as Niloofar and I painted which was great.
We set up our table and easels and ate lunch ready for an afternoon in the festival. The FAF comped us a table so that was great!
Lexi out painting off of Broad Street
Niloofar's painting we called Jesus's Garage as it was near the Catholic Church and a picture of me taking a cookie break.