Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall Paintouts

In the past few weeks I have been able to get out and about and paint a bit and enjoy the great fall we have been experiencing here in Philadelphia. In the next week or so I expect we will be at the peak of the fall colors so I will be sure to get back out and try and catch some of them on canvas before they are gone with the wind.
Last Saturday a big group of Philly painters got together and painted, some going to Eastern State Prison and some going down the the navy Yard in South Philly. My friend Diane Feissel puts the finishing finger touch on her painting along one of the historic cell blocks. Eastern State is a great place to visit as well as paint--however its is very busy as well which at times complicated you painting things are there are so many tourists and they often get in your way for minutes and minutes on end.

I set up quick deciding to try and cath the light and angle at the end of the cell block, and it was actualy very quite and only a handful of people when I started painting, but about halfway through the crowds really built up and often blocked my view of what I was painting. As usual when painting in a public place i had several interested parties who would stop to chat, comment and ask questions, but unlike most of the time painting elsewhere in Philly, they were nice and not drunk.
                                  Will and Diane worked in the next cell block over from me.

This was the result of the first painting which I eventually stopped due to the light shift and crowds ad then moved on to the yard where I found Will and Charles painting. It was nearing the end of the day but I still had some paint ready so I busted out this quick little landscape with one of the guard towers in about 45 minutes. Having to paint quick is good at times as it make you take bold steps you might not in order to get something down. No time to be picky!

A few weeks before the eastern State paintout I headed out to Ridley Creek State park near Media with will and another frend an painted there at an old mansion. Another great fall day but I was actually getting cold and shivering a bit towards the end, my hands were freezing!


There are mant feral cats out there and they sped around and hunted as people walked by. I saw a few chipmunks get eaten by the cats as I painted. They all seemed pretty used to the people but kept their distance as well/
Once the sun moved too low I had to stop and my hands were really cold with me sitting there so I packed up and went to see what Will and our friend was up to.
This was Will's sweet little landscape.
Here is my final painting of the day. Its on a Sourcetek Birch panel and I love to paint on them. I was definitely thing of how Sargent handled many similar scenes and views in his Italian paintings. I felt pretty good about this till I got home and looked at some Sargents to compare---oh well, there is always next time!

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.