Friday, August 22, 2014

Soda bottles and knitwear

Fishers, Maine 14" x 20"
Back in the studio after a busy summer travelling. I had a great show in Bristol, England, and a successful, intense and enjoyable plein air event in Door County, Wisconcin. Then we packed the car and drove to Graceland, toured the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis, visited Birmingham, Alabama, The Florida coast, Atlanta, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky and arrived home just in time for the start of school for the youngest two boys.
I love the summer but I'm really excited to wear some knitwear again soon.

Monday, July 28, 2014

St Mary's Conquest…the chain link fence

St Mary's Conquest at 4pm
So when the St Mary's Conquest sailed away 2 hours into my painting on Wednesday I had got most of the form laid in but little of the detail. I had taken a reference a photo but with only a standard lens so that  would only get me so far, besides being not in the spirit of the Plein Air discipline. So I decided to make the ship the background and to create a foreground screen with the chain link fence (which I had, till that point, decided to omit). The fence posts were painted on location….and the chain link took almost all night.
Here's the finished piece as exhibited in my first grouping of paintings at Friday night's opening. Click on the image to see it larger on your screen.
St Mary's Conquest at 4am

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day seven, Saturday

Window and Shingles
  Backing up a bit…. this is the painting I did yesterday afternoon before the gallery opened. It went into the exhibition which is open to the public now and has its evening reception in about two hours from now, so Im hoping it will sell. Im very pleased with it.
The first Four on the wall
Yesterday morning I selected these four to be the first to go on the wall for the private view last night at 5pm…. By 5.30 only the one bottom right was unsold.
This morning I was up at 5 to prep for the 2 hour "Quick Paint" event in Fish Creek. Spent two hours working on my composition, drawing and redrawing my thumbnails and vacillating between the safe route on 12" x 16" paper and the ambitious, 30" wide panel that I had prepared with coarse Gesso. The issue being that I wanted it to be all about the striking graphics and the horizontal clapboard, but a 30 inch by 10 inch painting in 2 hours would demand a different approach to detail and linework.
Its been such a great week here and I sold so well last night at the opening so on the one hand I feel like I've proved myself and have no need to be conservative, but on the other hand…..its a VERY public event and at the end of it all its going to be exhibited, talked about and auctioned live in front of a large crowd of collectors, so the excruciating embarrassment of doing something that no one likes is a very real fear for me.
So I went with the risky 30 x 10.
Bidding started at $400 and the hammer came down at $1750. I am thrilled with the week, I have three left in the gallery for tonight's opening to the public, I've posted everything that Ive painted, and I think its time to sign off and sleep for an hour before I dress for the show.

Fish Creek Market, watercolor, ink and collage on panel, 30 x 10

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day six, Friday

I worked last night till 4 in the morning drawing a chain link fence on my boat painting from Wednesday. Time well spent, but Ive been pretty tired all day. Woke at 7 to do paperwork for the gallery, frame the works on paper and protect the panel pieces with UV varnish.
Arrived at the gallery at 11, unloaded, organized the first four to be hung in the show and the order of the remaining four for replenishing the wall if any were to sell. And then set off to find my last painting of the week.
I painted a barn window in a shingle wall. Turned out lovely given that I only had 2 hours and it was sprinkling with rain. Stripped off in the farmyard and dressed for the exhibition and arrived back at the gallery at 4.50 to see a LONG line of collectors outside the door waiting for it to open at 5. At 5.05 I had sold the two largest pieces (Day 3 and Day 5) and then Day 4, the boat with the chain link went.
At six I only had one left on the wall, and everyone went out into the courtyard for drinks while the gallery was restocked.
In the second part of the evening I sold another two.
Marvellous. The standard of work across the board amongst the 40 artists was noticeably higher. Stephen Dougherty, editor of Plein Air magazine gave an address and said that of the hundreds of plain air events he has juried and experienced, he likened the Door County event to the Masters Golf tournament at Augusta. The creme de la creme. I have to say it is humbling to be showing with these painters, and a great treat to be able to laugh and critique and share with them during the week.
Anyhow, I don't have my camera to upload todays painting because its in the car and Im too tired to go get it. Must get up  at 6 to prep and stake out my spot for tomorrows Quick paint event in Fish Creek.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day Five, Thursday

 Up at 6 to work on last night's sunset flagpole a little from memory because i forgot to take a photograph.
Then off to Sister Bay to sit in the idyllic Beach Road community gardens, lovingly restored by the new owners who run the farm as a host to locals who wish to farm vegetables and flowers. The watertower at right is collecting rainwater. The contraption on the left is some kind of feed spreader .
This one took 9 hours.
Beach Road Community Gardens 30 x 10
I have to deliver my work to the gallery tomorrow so its a very late night for me tonight tweaking and pricing. I have the chain link fence to draw on the dock painting from yesterday, which will take most of the night. I feel very excited about my collection of work this year even though there are two paintings less than I would normally have produced by the end of day four.
Sunset painting reworked

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day four, Wednesday

ST Mary's Conquest, 24 x 12
 An exciting day that had its trials and tribulations, not least of which was the unexpected departure of the "St Mary's Conquest" from her berth in the dock, about 2 hours after I began my painting. The following four hours were spent working on the dockside and reconfiguring the idea to be focussed more on the chain link fence, which I now have to draw if I can stay awake tonight.
Masthead, Sister Bay
The evening sunset painting in Sister Bay is always a bit of a worrisome affair for me as Im not really one for a sunset. So I looked up instead of out and painted a very quick masthead with a flag before it got too dark and way too chilly. This painting gave me a neck ache like never before.
It needs more contrast and much more maple tree on the right.

Me in a field by John Gremmer

This was emailed to me today by photographer, John Gremmer. Thanks John for capturing the scale of the moment so well. I was hundreds of yards from the road (where I think this photograph was taken), and from the buildings and from any kind of shade. But what a great place to sit and soak up Wisconsin for 6 or 7 hours!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day three, Tuesday

What a fabulous day in the sun. Actually, a bit too in the sun because to do todays painting meant sitting in the middle of a ploughed field with no shade for six hours.
Location shot. 3pm
Full size compositional drawing with notes. 9.30 am
Every painting has to start with design and decision making. I can't start a painting with a vague notion about what I am doing. I'm posting this photo of my design drawing for my students I suppose. I want them to see that its an important part of my process. The drawing is full size, 30" x 10" between the creases in the cardboard.
Finished painting drying on the easel. 3.45
I stopped painting quite a lot to chat with people who had stumbled out across the soft furrowed soil to see me. Its a big part of the week, and its always a pleasure to talk with people who are truly interested in painting. I'm not much of a multi tasker though, so I tend to just stop work.
Detail of the barn on the left 7.30pm
Which is why I didn't get quite as much time for this one as I had hoped before it was time to drive home. I shall push up the shadow play and push some values here and there tonight, but I got a lot of the information down on site.
Up in the morning to drive down to Sturgeon Bay to paint boats and then back up to Sister Bay for a sunset painting.