Another post on plein air painting. Every day my husband wants to go fishing in his boat. After fawning over Emily Carr’s forest paintings for months after reading “The Forest Lover” a book about her life, I packed up my painting supplies and head out to the lake with him. Today we went to Massapoag Lake. Just beautiful and glorious! I’ve been having a lot of good luck with compositions; much more than I ever thought I would. Before I had thought, they are just trees, no variation. Boring. Emily Carr’s work changed all that. I started seeing compositions where there were none before. We drove the boat to a few different locations. I searched for a bend, a fallen tree, a “V” in the trees, there is always something. Then I did a quick outline in paint and the fun began. I’ve been teaching my students at the Franco American School in Lowell about Kandinsky’s circles and have really enjoyed them. So I began using them to represent leaves, flowers, etc. Its FUN! I love them. I like creating landscapes that are abstract but still representational. Fairfield Porter, Lawren Harris and Tommy Thompson are some more of my favorite artists that have achieved this very successfully. I like their abbreviated and graphic looking leaf groupings or pine tree boughs. Being unafraid of color, I dive in. I work with contrasting colors and colors that harmonize together. When there is balance, a good design and my eye dances across the canvas, I know I have what I was seeking. I am attempting quite a few of these small paintings (all under 12″x 12″) for the Manchester Art Festival in Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts this August 4th. Hope to see you there!
My precious, precious studio time dwindles as the summer approaches. I have three kids. Enough said. So, I take the studio with me and set up when I can, wherever I can. Yes they are getting older. Much older. But as most of you parents know, sometimes that doesn’t matter. You still have to BE there. You still worry too much time alone will produce disastrous results. Thus the en plein air plan. So yesterday I went to Tuck’s Point, Manchester-by-the-sea and worked on a little painting (to be fine tuned and finished in the studio) that I will probably include in my tent at the Manchester Art Festival this August 4th. I will have a variety of sizes of paintings and price ranges. Please put it on your calendars!
En plein air has its challenges. The weather for one, the wind, an abbreviated cache of supplies, little access to water, being baked in the sun, no bathroom, providing your own chair (or not), insects and a very public audience. However you have a portable studio, can see gorgeous views right in front of you and need no photo references! I recommend it whenever possible but be very prepared. Wear sunblock. Bring a lunch! Wear a baseball hat for the sun and of course take everything you brought with you out with you. Its a lot of heavy lifting if you take everything you will need but its worth every pound. Just try to pare down to the bare essentials of outdoor painting: a variety of brushes, a water cup, the primary colors + white, a canvas, an easel, a collapse-able chair, two water bottles (one for drinking, one for washing out your brushes), a palette, a watch and comfortable shoes. Dress in layers. Weather could change in a heartbeat. Check the weather channel! So much planning…but better to plan first and be comfortable than not bring everything you will need. Good luck and happy painting!
I guess I have a few purposes for my blog. First it is to chronicle my artwork and creative process. Next I would like to help other artists navigate the art world and help them out in the dizzying world of selling art and the business of art. I will be re-posting valuable articles I feel could help artists’ careers and offering a little of my own insight, having been trying to navigate (mostly blind) in this world for many years (I am not admitting how many). Thanks for visiting and come back often!