Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cold Windy Brandywine

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.

                            Alina set up on the ground, being low in the wind I think was a wise choice
 Here is my rough-in and after I got the ground in the sky suddenly changed with the advancing front so i had to rework it quick as the wind pushed in clouds.

 Here is Shawn's block in, he said even though the light had changed he was staying with his original block-in.

 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.

 Alina and will were probably both smarter than me and decided to do smaller paintings. Me, I decided to do an 18 x 24 canvas.

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 final painting

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 Woodbury FAF Arts Festival

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.

Sunday Niloofar and I showed up about 8:30  and set up over by the train station and went to work. I love Woodbury, it has a very Edward Hopper type feel to it, these old buildings are such a joy to paint and have such personality. I set up and went straight at it---and I felt a lot more in sync and also maybe not having my concentration broken by a crowd helped too.


 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.

I was almost done here and then it got pretty cloudy and suddenly the light changed, and it was near noon, when we were all supposed to meet up and set up our paintings to display and sell.

 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


 My final stage of my railroad painting, I had a great time with this and really want to paint this spot again! It had been well over a month since I had a chance to get back out and paint plein air--and boy did i miss it! i feel very recharged by it and hanging with my great friends and great painters!

 Jennifer had to take off early but therest of us held down the fort till the end of the event at 4pm, then we packed it up and headed out. It was great time and we are all really happy and thankful to Jacqualynn Knight and The FAF and hope to return to Woodbury soon to paint it's quaint buildings and landscapes again soon.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Philly Rooftops

 The PPAP once agani gathered to paint on the rooftop of our friend Kathrine's apartment on Pine Street in Philly. The dog days of summer, or the Pittbull days or August have been replaced by the Poodle days, at least the past few days. I have been mostly painting at home the past month due to work and the crazy weather. Often it was just too  darn hot to get out and paint. I tried it in the heat and did get along for a time, but I always ended up having to pack it in becase of the weather. They say this is the wettest summer on record in Philly. I believe it--we had a huge storm this week which was flooding the region all over the, place including an F 0 tornado in Jersey. So like a few month's back Kat invited everybody to come over and paint off of the roof of her apartment which offers awesome views of the city to paint. I decide because of the time allowed and the wind to paint on a small  12 x 12 Ampersand panel. I did finish up the painting at home, adding a few little touches and especially reworking the chimney a bit.

                                                       Here is my setup--ready to go!

 You can see the process of Alina's painting in these two photos. they were smarter than me and stayed in teh shade.
 Aaron working on his first view for the day, but after his model left he ended up changing his view.

 As people came and went David Wilson showed up to race the sun and set up next to Alina.
 I had to stop it here as for one thing without and umbrella of coverage I was totally baked by this point and my eyes were done from fighting the glare.

 Lexi sketching away in her drawing pad like Kathrine and Narcissa did. That's the cool thing about these paint-outs, people come ,go and do whatever, from watercolors to pencils sketches, ballpoint pen to oils.

 It was just a glorious day and the sunset was just amazing! We all stayed late and ordered some pizza and watched the sun go down and the moon come up, what a great day!