Sunday, May 30, 2010

PAINTINGS - "STEMS Plein Air" Pt.2

Here is the next batch of paintings from this weekend. I went to the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on Saturday. Above is the American Indian "Medicine Wheel". Visitors are allowed to place a rock somewhere in the wheel as a prayer. My wife always liked going there, since she had some Indian heritage in the family tree. The little straw hut had been blown over since the last time I was there. But it made for an interesting structure.

Below you can see how dramatically the light shifted during the course of the morning. This will be a recurring challenge anytime one tries plein air painting. One solution is to revisit a spot at the same time over several days. I chose not to do that...but I lost that strong shadow that grabbed me early in the day...hard to fake that.

Next, I wandered off down a trail that goes about a mile out into the woods of the Arboretum. Beautiful walk...not so fun, if you are hauling several pounds of painting gear. I stopped at a little bridge, where these trees and their roots caught my eye.
However, you can see the total change in the mood from the sun moving positions during the mid-day. I was not as happy with this painting, but once I got it home, I liked it a little better. I got tired, and really didn't get to the detailing on the roots like I had wanted to do.

This last one was done today at the Deanna Rose Farmstead. I started at 9:30 this morning, and didn't get finished until about 1:30. However I tried something a little unconventional, which made it take much longer. A mistake.
Because I love drawing in my sketchbooks, I thought I'd try a painting more like those images. I used my felt-tip marker pen and rendered the whole scene in linework. My intention was to do thin glazes of color oil washes. But the more I got into it, the less I liked it. A crowd was gathering around, and I started feeling the pressure.
So I reverted back to my traditional oil painting technique. I'm not unhappy with the final's just too bad that I lost the sketch that I spent a couple of hours on. At least I have the digital version from my camera...sigh.
(A final word to the wise...DO NOT set up near the dairy barn, if you don't want to hear a string of cow bells being constantly rung, dozens of parents reading a sign out loud to their kids about cow trivia, and EVERYBODY trying to communicate with the animals by MOOING all day long!!!! I'm just sayin'...)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PAINTINGS - "STEMS Plein Air" Pt.1

Here are the first paintings I've finished for the STEMS Plein Air Paint 2010 event that started this last Friday night. Above is one that I completed this evening after work. I'm showing these in reverse order...these early attempts are helping me get the cobwebs off of my painting arm. Not sure I'm liking any of them very much, but we've got a couple more weeks of painting time before the deadline. This yellow tractor and threshing machine are at the Deeana Rose Petting Zoo and Farmstead.

I did a different view of the same one below on Sunday morning...the sky was overcast the whole time, so I wasn't as happy with the lack of strong lights and shadows.

Below is my first painting of the event...we had a "Sunset Paintoff". The report I heard was that there were about 100 artists participating this year. It's been good for me to get out, do something creative, and hang out with a bunch of new people.

Friday, May 21, 2010

SKETCHBOOK - "Trip to San Diego"

Since I've been too busy this week to do much sketching, I decided to look back through some of my older drawings. These are sketches I did while on a business trip to San Diego back in 2006. My favorite is at the bottom of this good friend Keith was waiting in the airport for an early flight back to Kansas City, "sleep-eating" a slab of pizza for breakfast.

Friday, May 14, 2010

SKETCHBOOK - "Random Drawings"

Life has been rather challenging these last three weeks, trying to adjust to my new life without my wife, Cat. But I want to keep posting some things, even if they aren't current. Here are a few images from semi-recent days. The page above was on my birthday in April, while waiting to pick up my daughter from the airport.

This next sketch was done while waiting in the parking lot for an appointment. Below was a big palm tree at Kauffman Garden, where Cat and I would often go...this sketch was from our last trip there together.

I'm hoping to have a few new paintings to show over the next month or so. In honor of Cat, I decided to participate in a Plein Aire painting event at the Arboretum of Overland Park, KS. I haven't painted outside in a couple of years now, so I'll be a bit rusty. But it will be good for me. Here's a link to the site: STEMS Plein Aire Paint 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

SKETCHBOOK - "Trip To El Dorado"

I recently spent an enjoyable weekend visit to my hometown in Arkansas. My Mom has become a recent convert to the joys of sketchbook journaling. We spent a couple of days wandering around town, drawing whatever looked interesting at the time. These are the pages I ended up with...I was using my trusty "Moleskin" brand sketchbook, with pages made from watercolor paper. The lines are done with a "small" point Faber-Castell sepia artist pen. The washes were done with a KOI pocket field sketch box watercolor set.