Tuesday, August 30, 2016

plein air vs. studio painting

A good friend of mine convinced me to try plein air (outdoor) painting (again). This is only the second time I have tried this. I also painted a couple of paintings in Vermont two years ago (see posts from August 2014), but finished them in the studio.  I'm not sure I'm even going to bother finishing these two since I was so unhappy with them.

It was hot and sunny. My friend provided a big beach umbrella and I sat at a picnic table.  I didn't get the sense of the farm in my painting (in my opinion), or the colors. She even had some bugs get on her canvas.  I guess I am a little jealous of painters that can just put everything down so beautifully no matter where they paint. In the 2nd picture the Canada geese came out looking like ducks. Of course they were moving around quite a bit too which made it difficult for me to render them and I didn't have the right small brush with me. I tried to pack a limited amount of brushes and pigments in my pochade box not knowing how far we would have to walk. At some point I might try painting the pond again from one of my photos. There were corn stalks growing in the distance and I would like to try to show them better.

The top photo shows a view of the sunflowers.  The farm was having a fundraiser and invited artists to paint the sunflowers so there were a few of us out there. The fundraiser was for the Make a Wish Foundation and I was happy to make a donation to them. They are a good organization.

Meanwhile I bought a couple of small aluminum panels, 4" X 6" just to play with.  I liked the way the colors show up on the aluminum, but I don't think I would like to work on this surface on a larger painting.

I decided to try again with the sunflowers in my studio this time. I like this one a little better and think it would make a good background for a card with a nice verse. All of these paintings were done with water mixable oils. I think I will go back to acrylics for the next ones I try.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this hobby, but I will continue to learn. I've had some physical and emotional issues to deal with this year and we are now planning on moving from New Hampshire to Idaho next year to be closer to family. That will be a big change for me, but I will keep painting, maybe even start writing poems again. Trying to stay positive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Costa Rica

Lenticular cloud on Arenal
I decided to play with some of my photos from my Costa Rica trip a few years ago. This was an experiment with triadic colors, water mixable paints, 8" X 10". It is a view of a lenticular cloud on the Arenal Volcano. I did it more impressionistically.  If I decide to paint it more realistically, I will need to do a better job with my drawing and will probably use regular colors.
Boat Billed Heron
This one is a boat billed heron, also 8" X 10", but done in acrylic paint. I'm not putting these up on my website, just practicing.  I have several other old paintings I am going to try to improve. I'm still taking online classes and trying to learn more about composition. I'm thinking about signing up for an urban landscape painting in the fall. I'll see how well I feel by then. I am walking a little better now that I have had a series of injections in my knee, but still have pain (much less though). The fall painting class will involve walking to sites downtown to paint so I have to think about that.
I spent last week on retreat with the National Havurah group in Rindge, NH. I studied psalms in the morning and some art in the afternoon, also lots of singing. Seeing how other people are dealing with their disabilities and being in a beautiful environment has also improved my attitude.  It helps to be in a beautiful environment too even though I couldn't do the walking in the woods that I usually enjoy.  One of the things I miss here and look forward to on these retreats (the next one is a weekend in December) is the hevruta study. That is pairing students in groups of 2 or 3 to study a passage, then we come back to the group and discuss more. It is great bouncing ideas off other people. The Havurah group is very inclusive and everyone was welcome, there were lots of babies and children there too. 
My last post was on Rosh Hashanah cards and I brought some with me to the retreat and sold many of them. There are more Rosh Hashanah designs on my website, not just the ones I posted last time, in the Jewish Holidays gallery.