Monday, June 4, 2012

The PPAP Kickoff!

Welcome to the Philadelphia Plein Air painters blog! We are a great mix of professional painters, teachers and students who are drawn together through our love and devotion to the tradition of landscape and figurative painting, but especially plein air painting. Many of us currently attend or have attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and teach there as well as other Philly based ateliers and schools such as Studio Incamminati, Uarts and the Wayne Art center.

At a recent party where many of our group was hob knobbing and chewing the fat with artists and painters in town to attend the Portrait Society of America’s annual conference. As the wine flowed and the good food was consumed, the conversation turned to a recent plein air painting trip I hand made a few days before along the Delaware with the DPC. Several of us were talking about how much we loved landscape painting and painting in the company of each other and how great it would be to do this as a group. I agreed and said that I have been already doing that with the Dirty Palette Club, a group of my friends and fellow students from PAFA. The DPC as we are known around the City and School formed a few years back for just this reason, to get together as often as possible to paint and draw together and learn from and support each other. Pennsylvania and Philadelphia is a great city and region for art and there have been many such gathering and groups of artists and painters over the last 150 years from the Philadelphia Sketch Club to the group of Impressionist painters who gathered up the Delaware in New Hope Pennsylvania featuring painters Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Roy Cleveland Nuse, William L. Lathrop and Walter E. Schofield. Many of these painters also taught at the Pennsylvania Academy. PAFA has been a launching pad for many similar groups of painters such as the Ash Can School and the group known as The Eight, which preceded it. So we are following in the same footsteps and tradition which is the richest vein of painters in the history of America, from Eakins to the Wyeths, and we feel that it is the best time in almost 100 years to be painters who are interested in carrying on in the grand tradition of painting started here in Philadelphia. So the PPAP has come together to carry our paints and palettes and easels out into the woods, rivers and onto the streets of Philly to paint, paint, paint!

To start off several of us were interested in painting an urban scene so Rachel Constantine suggested we try painting on the roof of the Whole Foods on South Street which would afford us a lot of great views of the city. We were also interested in doing some night painting as well, to try and catch a really different type of light and atmosphere. We all weaved our way through rush-hour traffic to our rendezvous and grabbed some food to snack on as we searched the roof to pick a spot to paint. The great thing about this spot was that there were several little picnic spots on the roof where we could easily set up and paint.

We painted until the sun was too low to continue on our first paintings and then switched up and found new spots to try our night paintings. Here I tried a time-lapse of Will Sentman setting up for his night painting.

Rachel Constantine searches for just the right view.

Kathryn Vaughan and Dan Murano draw and paint.

Here is a picture of Rachel's night painting, she had under an hour to try and get it done before we had to leave or be locked in on the roof!

This was my first painting on the day, a composition of the rooftops on South Street as the sun set, I had to really race this one as the shadows were on the move. In the end I did have to rely on memory to finish some of this.

This painting of the little red compact was my second painting of the day, or evening and this is about 45 minutes of painting time. By the time I chose my spot and got going I had under an hour to finish before we hand to scoot or be locked in till the next day. I popped this in the back of the jeep and we made it out just as the door was coming down just like in an action movie! It was a great day and I think we all got some good painting out of it!


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