Sunday, June 5, 2016

SKETCHBOOK: "Quivera Sycamore"

After painting with oils for the last couple of weeks, I felt the urge to get my sketchbook out on the way home from church today. This big sycamore tree is in Quivera Park.

Friday, June 3, 2016


The last two weeks have been full of oil paints, sunscreen and bug spray! I decided to participate for the second time in the STEMS Plein-Air painting event. It is a yearly fundraiser for Overland Park Arts and Recreation. The last time I tried this was 6 years ago. While I did not win any of the final awards this time around, I did manage to pick up one of the five $100 prizes for a Saturday morning "quick paint" challenge. All in all, a great time proving to myself that I could enjoy painting again.

The first night's kickoff was a "Sundown" paint challenge at the Arboretum and Gardens of Overland Park. Below is a photo of me in deep concentration, trying to imagine a sunrise, as the overcast rainy clouds completely obliterated any hint of light and shadow.  I chose to paint the purple cabbages in the big terra-cotta planters. The final painting could use some more finessing, but we only had two hours.
The next painting was done in Old Overland Park, KS. I was attracted to the pink RIO Theater set against the clear blue sky. 
The huge beautiful tree that was my model in the next painting, can be found in front of the Presbyterian church in the historic areas of Old Overland Park. I sat and painted this one over two different afternoons.
The angel statue on the porch was done for a "special purchase award" offered by florist/designer Craig Sole. Because of the ever-looming possibility of rain, I had to work on this one over a couple of days.
Around the corner from the angel on the porch, I was attracted to this planter of flowers in front of the ivy-covered chimney. It was a bit tricky to capture the fleeting sunlight.
The early morning threat of rain (again) encouraged me to hurry to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead where I captured the sun trying to push through the thick clouds. Not long after I finished the painting, a storm dumped a lot of water on everything.
I made my way back to Deanna Rose Farmstead and spent a couple of days working on this "wishing pond". I may go back into the painting and darken up some of the rocks a bit. But I liked how the sun illuminated the pennies in the water.
On the eve of Memorial Day, I woke up about 5:15 in the morning. So I decided to try to catch the sunrise in Old Overland. I learned just how fast the light changes in those moments when the sun peeks through. Next time, I'll have to leave out the amount of details, and just stick to the larger shapes.
Later that same day (or night, I should say) I painted my very first "nocturnal" piece. I had just purchased some "mighty bright" clip on lights, and was eager to see how it worked. I enjoyed the challenge, and will do more night paintings.
 At the end of the first week of the event, the artists met at the Deanna Rose Farmstead for an early morning "quick paint" challenge. We had two hours, but that still didn't feel like enough time for me. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I was fortunate enough to be one of the five chosen winners!! I will continue to push myself to get better and hopefully loosen up some more with my paint strokes. I tend to be pretty "literal". There are more plein air events in the months ahead, and I plan to be there!!