Friday, August 22, 2014

The PAPP at the DuPont Environmental Education Center

Hello Plein Air enthusiasts, welcome back! I'm trying to catch up on the blog with some of recent plein air outings by the PPAP in and around the Philadelphia area.

On a fine Saturday about two weeks back William, Jen and I headed down to the DuPont Environmental Education Center in Wilmington, for a great day of painting on the beautiful Wilmington River Walk. 

Will and I drove down from Philly and Jen drove up to meet us as she knows the area better than the both of us as she lives in Delaware. Arriving a bit early Will and I scouted around the area and then Jen suggested we head over to the DuPont Environmental Education Center, which we did. 

It is a great place to visit and walk, jog and take pictures or paint. I saw many photographers out snapping pics of the beautiful Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge, marsh and wetlands as well and many joggers and people out walking their dogs.

 It was a very sunny day and as we scouted around for painting spots, and we found a lot of great views, the sun started heating things up. So we all were looking for a spot with some shade to avoid getting cooked and there were not a lot of shady spots and the temp had climbed into the upper 80's.

 Jen set up on the third floor of the Education Center and Will and myself set up under the walkway which afforded us a great view plus shade. I brought along my new Julian Plein Air unbrella, which really did come in handy to block the sun on me and my canvas--I'm so glad I finally bought myself one.

It was just past solar noon as we all hurried to get painting as the sun clock was ticking. As usual we had many onlookers and interested parties as we worked. Poor Will even had some kind of birthday or Quince Anos party set up for pics and block his view for a while.

Even though it was a challenge I wanted to paint the old train bridge that crossed the river off the Environmental center. I brought along my old yard stick to use as a mahl stick which helped. And you can even watch a video I shot of part of my painting process on this painting on my youtube page. 

A subject like this really forces my concentration to the ultimate, to really look and think before I paint. I painted this painting on a little MDF panel I made back in school that was coated with 3 layers gesso.  i love the depth and counter angles of this view and really want to go back and paint other views of this bridge.


                                   But eventually the light changed too much so we all called it a day.

                               My painting for the day, Old Train Bridge,  8 x 20 Oil on panel



LEFT: William's handsome little canvas, a great composition and similar view to mine. 

RIGHT:  Jen's great painting vista from the second floor of the nature Center

Friday, August 15, 2014

Painting the Lawrence Cabin

A few weeks back some of us PPAP hit a new spot to painting in Havertown at the Lawrence Cabin  , which is very similar to the Swedish Cabin that the group has painted at several times, and is located about equal distances from my home.

 Once again Alina found another great painting spot for the group that we could easily visit multiple time to paint. We were joined by a new painting friend Cynthia Taylor Mould who I met through the En Plein Air Facebook group. It turns out we live pretty close and have even painted similar spots like the Swedish Cabin, and along Darby Creek.

                                             The spot I decided to painting and my easel

We all met up at the new spot and Alina and I spent some time exploring the cabin and the grounds looking for painting spots. Alina decided to paint up by the cabin as did Cynthia, but I decided to paint down off the grounds looking down on the stream below.

                                         Cynthia with her lovely painting of the actual cabin

By the time we started it was close to solar noon and I was aware that soon the light would change as the sun crossed over into afternoon and the shadows would reverse. I really liked the high vantage point looking down onto the stream with the wash and rocks below with a foreground element of the tress in the foreground.

 I set up my basic palette and went to work. I even attempted to film my process but I ended up stopping after a spell as I think I need a better rig or maybe a camera person to aid in the process.
The afternoon rushed past quick and eventually the sun
 changed enough that I had to stop work and call it a day.

                           Alina painting near the cabin and her two sweet little paintings she did.

                                                             Cobbs Creek 12 x 16 Oil

But I did shoot a video of my painting process and posted it in two parts of youtube

Part one Here   and  part two Here

I hope weather cooperating I can get back over to the same area this week to try some more painting.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wandering Kennet Square

Yesterday morning I hopped in the car and drove out to the Brandywine area to find a spot to paint. I have been doing a lot of studio work and was anxious to get back to nature.

I left home with darkening skies as the weatherman called for some passing morning storms and sure enough on the way it poured. But I figured by the time I found a spot to paint the rain would be over, and it was. I found a few interesting places that i could set up, but decided to keep going and if nothing else better came up, I'd go back.

Finally I found it, the Goldilocks spot. With a few drops of rain still falling from the tress I hoped out and walked around a bit to find the best view and then quickly set up and got to painting. This scene had a lot of great dynamics and space, a lot of triangles in the composition which makes the picture-space dynamic. Something close and something distant.

My Palette colors: Cinnabar Green,Terra Verte, Hansa Yellow, Raw Umber, Mars Yellow deep, Naphthol Scarlet, Gablin Radiant White, Bolat Blue, Blick Violet Pastel

I blocked in my shapes very loosely and then using a big flat  (a No. 16) massed in the biggest shapes until I had the whole composition in big shapes down on the canvas. I was again painting on a Source Tek 12 x 16 canvas panel.

After I had finished the mass-in I took a break and stepped back to asses the way things were going--and noticed the sky darkening again pretty fast. I hopped to trying to get working again because I didn't know if the storm would blow over or rain me out. I snapped pics in case I had to finish the painting at home.

It trickled but I kept painting till a sudden burst came and I ran back to the jeep and covered the easel. after about 25-30  minutes the rain passed and I was able to go back and finish the painting. To finish I mostly used my No. 6 Kafka and a No.6 flat, if I got to picky I massed the area and painting back again. I used Liquin fine detail for my medium. But the sun chad finally changesd too much so i stopped

                                                          Creek and Field 12 x 16 Oil

I'm pretty happy with the result and was really happy to be back out painting from nature--I'll be back out this week!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The PPAP on Outdoor Painter

The PPAP got a nice plug on about our outing a few weeks back painting the gardens during the Newark [Delaware] Art Alliance's Garden Tour 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

PPAP Paint the Newark Art Alliance Garden Tour 2014

Under clear blue June skies with perfect weather for some plein air painting, the PPAP traveled to Newark Delaware at the invitation of the Newark Art Alliance to paint at their 2014 Garden Tour. The group of painters Jen Polillo, William and Alina Sentman and myself arrived at the NAA gallery around 11 and meet the director and volenteers and got maps of the 11 gardens that spread across Delaware and up into southern Pennsylnania.

                                                                    The Asian Garden

Since the day was burning away fast we decided to try and scout out the closest gardens and then choose our spots to paint as we had only about three hours to paint. We did loose some time due to heavy traffic on 1-95 coming down due to road closures.

We started at the gardens on the grounds of President of the University of Delaware and then hit four more local gardens about 5 minutes apart.

We decided to settle on the last garden we visited and then if time allowed to go back to the President's garden. It would have been great to paint all of the gardens but we would have needed more painters and more time. The tour only lasted till 3pm, so time was burning away fast after we picked our spot. The gardens all looked great but we need a "Goldilocks" spot that could accomidate the four of us and give enough views---and shade! I ordered my easel umbrella but it hasn't arrived yet and with a coudless sky you need some cover to paint and not get burned up. Except for the Presiden's garden most of the gradens we visited didn't offer that much shade.

The Wilgen Garden

We all finally settled on the beautiful garden and home of Julie Wilgen as it had everything we needed, good views, angles and shade, so we set up and got to work. Another benefit of the garden we choose was that there was nice music being played by the Serenata Strings and a cool friendly dog named King Solomon. Mrs. Wilgen was a gracious host and even brought us some water and refreshments.

I choose an angle where I knew the shadows would not change much and also give me a good contrast of light and darks. I painted on a panel I bought a while back at Dick Blick, I think it was a Blick cradeled panel, which had a nice surface that was slightly textured.


Here is my block-in and my final painting.

                                                Here is apic of me working that Jen took

                                               Will and Alina set up in front of the house

It was great time and we hand many on-lookers come by and watch as we painted through the afternoon. The clouds did come in about halfway through and the light changed for a time, but that's just something you have to deal with and plan for.


The time went quickly and before you know it we were done! We had wanted to go back to the President's garden but the tour was done by the time we were done with our paintings at the Wilgen garden, but I did snap many pictures from the gardens I visited that I can work from if I desire.

Will once again painted with gouache and got a great result!

The group will be having a group show at the NAA Gallery in January which will include the work we painted during the garden tour as well as other work.

We'd like to thank the NAA for inviting us to come and paint during their garden tour and look forward to perhaps doing this again next year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

PPAP Beach Getaway!

Over the Memorial Day weekend the PPAP hit the beach and boardwalk in Atlantic City for some sun, surf and plein air painting.The weather couldn't have been better, it was Goldilocks weather both days, and the beaches were crowded but not as packed as they will be later in the season when the weather and water will be a lot warmer.

 The water must still be around 60 degrees and I only dipped into it up to my waste once for about 4-5 minutes before I was chilled to the bone.

Atlantic City is a fun place to paint and I want to go back and paint off the boardwalk back into the city itself. there are some pretty cool and very Edward Hopperesque buildings and spots to paint.

It gets kind of dicey pretty quick and the "magic' of the board walk doesn't stretch a block. But its in that area that you can also find interesting spots to paint some very interesting urban scenes. Lots of old and falling away places in AC that might be gone with the next hurricane of some new casino. We came across a very friendly stray cat while coming off the boardwalk and found out he was one of the many alley cats that are taken care of by the  cool organization Alley Cat Allies who look after strays and take care of the many stray cats in Atlantic City and elsewhere.

The first day Will and Alina took me to a spot they had searched out already since they were staying in AC a few days before me. It was a bit of a hike was a hike to get to the spot with my gear but I had a good view of the pier and waves which increased in intensity as the tide came in. In fact I finished the painting just as the tide swamped over the spot I was in. Not being familiar with the tide we tried to gage how far up the beach it would come.

Since I didn't have an umbrella ( I'll be buying one for my easel) and Will gets sunburned pretty easy, we parked under one of the piers the first and second day to paint. Alina parked herself a lot further up toward the boardwalk.

Even on the second day I had to move as the tide came in suddenly and washed over my spot.

Will painted with gouache and set up right near me.  I busted out my rig, set up quick, making sure to really push it down in the sand to avoid it getting blown over by the wind, which was pretty stiff at times and having painted off the Delaware I know at any time a sudden blast can sent my whole rig tumbling down.

We had plenty of onlookers and commenters the whole weekend. I passed out a few business cards as well to some interested folks who I hope will contact me. Its funny, you have basically two types of people, those who stop and admire, even chat a bit and others who will walk right in front of you and block your view like a dullard.

As always its a race against the sun or clouds, it might start out clear as a bell and in 30 minutes the clouds or marine layer or haze will roll in. You have to plan and try and watch and judge the sky as you work. One the second day Alina rented an umbrella to paint on the beach.

The first painting was on one of the Source Tek's panels with the awesome Claessens Belgian linen. I love these panels! The second panel I used was made by my buddy David Golas, and that was great too. 

                                     My set-up at the end of the day as the tide came rushing in.

I took these paintings as an excuse to try and paint water again, and I looked at some Sorolla, Sargent and Zorn. Will brought along some books by them to look at in the evenings back in the hotel.

It was good to get away for a few days and we'll be back at the easels in the next week somewhere around Philly.

Here is the weekend's haul of paintings  by Alina, Will and myself.

 Alina's paintings

Will's paintings


My paintings