a few years ago my plein air group and I took a trip up to the Guerneville area. We rented a cabin on the Russian River and spent three days eating, painting, socializing and generally having a blast. One of the days, we headed out to Goat Rock, along the coast. As we got closer to the coast, the fog became thicker and thicker, until by the time we arrived at our destination, it was a thick blanket you could scarcely see through. Some of us continued south until we could find some clearer skies, which we did, but I returned to Goat Rock determined to paint that almost-island. Still socked-in, but I set up my gear and focused on a nearby bramble tangle. It turned out to be an abstract, and super fun.
An alla prima painting from this past Sunday – yes, that HOT Sunday. Staying cool in the shade of a grove of eucalyptus begged the subject of the sheltering trees. These trees shed their skin continually it seems, and they have interestingly shaped trunks if you take a few moments to look at an individual or two. This is a little wet, there may be a few more things to add later on. I’ll not nominate anyone for this challenge, because I want to allow my fellow artists to continue on their journeys at their own discretion and in their own time.
a painting a day for 10 days? Well, strangely enough, I’m too busy to create a new one every day, but I will try to post a past painting each day. Since it’s still spring, I’ll start with an iris from about 2004. It’s a “black iris” which still had enough color to make it fun to paint.
it takes a while, sometimes, to see what you want to change about a painting. There is a wonderful vineyard view, with rows of vines tailing into the distance, going over little hills and up into the ridge beyond. I wanted originally to push the colors into an unrealistic color “way” to see if it might spark some new direction or way of seeing, but, ultimately, I just found it sad. Who wants a sad painting around, especially in these times—it practically repainted itself! Below, the old version, then the new. This is 12×12, and, hey, if you wanted it in your life, contact me! My walls are full!
Art Escape Italy recently presented a self-portrait-during-the-lockdown challenge. If you won, you would get a free workshop in Italy in 2021. What’s not to like about that?! I had been to one of their plein air workshops in 2016, so I knew they chose quality instructors and great venues. This was a “stretch goal” for me, to accept the Art Escape Italy challenge, but I figured it was worth it, since the worst that could happen was nothing and the best that could happen was to win a workshop!
It was fun to try, and my first selfie in oils. Although it makes a lot of sense to paint yourself, it doesn’t always feel comfortable as it feels narcissistic or something, so I haven’t done it much. If you don’t want to bother people to sit for even a photograph, much less an actual painting, you yourself are always there…
They had about 150 entries. I did not win, but was close! The winner was a stand-out and I admire that portrait. Here’s Art Escape Italy’s blog post.
I worked on this painting more, struggling a bit with the interface between “reality” and non-reality (orange and purple areas). It’s settled down a bit and I like the general direction now.
I won’t finish that title —but you may think of the author Gabriel García Márquez. We must find and connect with the things we love and take joy from. Everything is helpful, from simple pleasures like a morning cup of coffee in your favorite cup to the more complex and absorbing occupations you may assign yourself. Connect with friends, get exercise, write a virtual letter. I challenged some of my painting friends to a Wolf Kahn-style effort. I’m not sure I really accomplished that. I was inspired by a photo I took of some clouds at sunset after a rain right here in the suburbs. You don’t have to be limited by what your landscape really is— take what is working and inspiring for you, and discard what is not. (see reference photo below)
I’ll keep working on this and I think I see what direction it needs to go now. However, any suggestions are welcome!