Monday, June 18, 2012

Race Street Pier

Sunday, sunny Sunday! For the groups 4th outing to paint in the Philly area we decided this week to go to where we had intended to paint last week, the newly refurbished Race Street Pier, down along Columbus Blvd., and right next to the Ben Franklin Bridge. They really did a great job of sprucing this old pier up and its quite the happening spot with movies and events schedules all of the time. The pier itself must stretch almost a good quarter mile out into the Delaware River, and it gives you great views of the bridge, the city and camden across the river as well as the SS New Jersey, dock works and more. We couldn't have asked for better weather, low humidity, warm but not too hot and pretty calm winds most of the time--though we did have a sudden gust which upset our easels and knocked my liquin and terps over, luckily my first painting was done---but that why you bring lots of paper towels! You always have to be ready for the wind when painting off the river. At the end of our day the wind was actually starting to kick up pretty good so luckily we were packing it in anyway.

The group gathered at the end of the pier and set up, Diane, Dave and Charles were there when we arrived and we all started painting away, lots of dynamic views to choose from!

The group discusses Dave's painting before he has to leave.
Alina's first painting was a view looking back at the city and was very bold and dynamic--she really plied the paint on this one!

Will and Alina started to battle with the sun, trying to avoid getting a sun burn. You can see Will working away at his painting of the bridge. Alina decided on her second painting to go for a view of the bridge herself and you can see some progress shots below.

Charles also had a great painting going of the bridge as well. This was Charles' first time out painting with the group. You can see more of Charles' work here.
Here is Charles working on his second painting of the bridge. Below are the final two paintings by Charles for the day...

This painting has such a great sense of air in it, something I think we were all going for in our own way.

Here is Dave Wilson's awesome, quick Plein Air for the early afternoon, Dave really knocked this one out quick as he couldn't stay all day.
Here is the block-in of my second painting. Blurring or squinting my eyes everything became basically two tones. I knew since the sun was setting I'd only have about an hour to kick this one out. This is the final painting, I am pretty happy with the values and feel, the drawing gets wonky in spots, but sometimes you have to sacrifice some exactness when working fast to get the spirit of what lies before you.

Rachel painting away, racing the shadows which were starting to elongate as we were well past solar noon.

Will was in full concentration here, even me blocking his view didn't stop him!
Rachel's progress on her painting, a great composition and I loved the structure and solid feel.

This was my first painting which was around 3 hours I suppose, maybe a bit less. Each time one of the Duck Boats would come around I'd race to paint it a bit more, they ran on a 20-30 minute loop. This was 10 x 20.

This is Will's final painting, again grasping what's important, the feel of the light and air, not a generic river scene, but the light of that time, that day. In the end we all felt pretty good and it really helps to be in such great company where you can learn from each other and observe solutions to similar questions like " how the heck do I paint that?". We often drew a crowd as we painted as well and one of the managers of the pier, we exchanged cards, she said she was so happy to see our group painting there as that was exactly the type of thing the wanted to see happen on the pier. She asked how soon we could come back! Next week who knows where we will go, the weather is forecast to be in the upper 90's and humid, not great weather to be painting outside in, so we'll see what venue we can all agree on. See you next time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Painting at the Philadelphia Art Museum

For the groups third outing to paint in the city last Thursday we ended up at the Philadelphia Museum of art at the Fairmount Waterworks, located right behind the PMA. Originally we had wanted to all head down to the Race Street Pier, but a phone call from Aaron, one of our group who lives near there warned us that the pier was closed for some wedding, or event. So Lexi suggested the PMA and the waterworks so we all detoured there which was a great choice. The Museum and the Waterworks are probably two of the most beautiful and scenic areas of the city, and the Waterworks has been a spot that many, many painting classes and workshops have taken advantage of to paint the beautiful landscape where you can see how beautiful the city can be. We had great cloud formations all day as the weatherman called for the increased possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. But the day was so beautiful it sort of cast a spell on all of us.

Alina set up not to far from where I was so I was able to sneak over and snap pics of her progress on her painting as she worked on it. Once I got hunkered down myself I didn't get so watch the others as much.

This is Alina's final painting for the day, what a great little plein air piece! It's hard to simplify and design all that building and nature.
Dave Wilson climbed up to what seemed like the top of Mount Olypmus to work on one of the two paintings he did this time. Dave had an awesome view looking west, stretching out over the Waterworks and the Schuylkill River falls.

As the day wore on it became more cloudy with patches of intense sunlight that would suddenly fade from view then in something out of a Cecil B Demille movie come bursting back.
This is the last super-quick little painting Dave did of the PMA itself just before we all packed it in.
Here is a nice shot of Dave's great painting from the the PMA of the river and the waterworks.
Here is a pic of Alina and Lexi stretching their legs along the lagoon. Every once in a while you have to get up and take a break and refresh you view of your work.
This is a shot of what I called the "God Effect" as the sun started to set amongst the rolling thunderclouds.
Kathryn perched near the lagoon and sketched.

Here is Lexi's great bold painting of Boat House Row. Great use of the palette knife!
I decided to set up under some shade that gave me a nice dynamic view. I was also not far from the car or the bathrooms, which is something that is really important when you paint outside!

Here is my final painting of the waterworks and little lagoon. I decided to go for more of a square composition this time as opposed to the typical horizontal composition. I am happy with this painting, even happier than the ones I did last week as I feel the composition is much stronger and more interesting with the perspective of the canal leading us back.

Here is Rachel Constantine's rough block-in of one of the Waterwork Gazebos.

We all would draw a crowd of curious on-lookers as we painted, here you can see a few onlookers watching Rachel painting.

Eventually the storm clouds did force our hand and the light changed too much so we all packed it in and headed home as the wind started kicking up after a very successful day of painting. A big thanks to Lexi for some of the pictures!