Sunday, September 8, 2013

Okay! I'm hooked on plein air painting!

Well how cool was THAT!!!

Arrived at Camaraderie Cellars for the "Quick Draw" event at about 0830 this morning. We had two hours exactly- from 9-11 AM- to do a painting on the grounds of the winery. Finished pieces were to be delivered and checked in at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center by noon.

I chose to do a watercolor/pen & ink in the journaling style that would incorporate the morning's activity. Featured were some of the artists painting along with the owner's dog, who manages to be an integral part of all dynamics on the premises. If you are local and haven't been to Camaraderie yet, do make it a point to go out and sample the fine wines, enjoy the scenery and just relax! It was a great two hours!

Adding to the wonderful time painting and enjoying time with other artists, my little "quick draw" piece sold!

Since we had to pick up any unsold work at 4 PM, I decided to stay in Port Angeles, have some lunch and visit with the other artists. I met some really incredible and inspiring talent! Learned a lot, too.

1) I don't have to work so hard- keep it simple.
2) No need to do so many paintings- although entering juried exhibitions is a lot like cooking spaghetti where you throw pasta onto the wall and see what sticks. One never knows what a judge will accept, much less give an award to.
3) Jurying is subjective. The judge said so- and I suspected this all along. He said he could come back tomorrow and have a different perspective.
4) Therefore, the main objective is paint what's in your heart and have fun!

Oh- and another shout out to the Joyce General Store- that painting sold, too! Whoop!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Nike logo says, "Just Do It!"

A different weather forecast every day! Friday turned out to be what I call a "Kodiak Day." Fog to the deck for most of the day- and a far cry from partly sunny Wednesday and the thunderstorms of Thursday! Took my watercolors out to a friend's place with the intention of doing a painting of her mountain view- which can be pretty spectacular- but ended up drinking coffee and just relaxing. Last night's reception at Camaraderie Cellars gave us all a chance to scope out the Quick Draw location for Sunday.

As unused as I am to painting on location, I'm even more unused to framing wet oil paintings! But without frames, they can't reasonably be handled. I managed to get the frames, wires and labels on all of the paintings and delivered them this  morning.

Next time, I tell myself, things will be done differently. Since all work had to be presented framed, I was limited to the materials on hand. Last week I hung 30 pieces at Bank of America in Sequim, thus my inventory of available smaller frames was severely curtailed. My friend Susan Spar said "You need to invest in some plein air frames." In other words. some standard sizes just for this kind of thing. Well, the first annual anything always leaves room for discussion on how to do things "next time." Susan's advice is well received, so a selection of plein air frames is on the shopping list!

The body of work - one watercolor/pen & ink in the intrepid journal style of my idol, The Seattle Sketcher, along with four oils, three of which are larger than I would have normally come up with, are done, and my initial efforts were worth the time and experience. Hopefully I'm getting the hang of it.

 (Joyce General Store, University of Joyce, Reflections (at the marina) After the Storm (on Port Williams Road) and Lightning Over the Straits- all done in  two days!)
Ancora Imparo= I am still learning.  (Michelangelo)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Plein Air Painting- Yes, me!!

 So many of my friends are plein air painters. Perhaps it's my many years of living in Alaska, specifically Kodiak where the average number of sunny/partly sunny days comes to about 130, is why it never occurred to me to do much painting outdoors. Frankly, I think there are fewer than 130 sunny days in Kodiak, but I can't argue with statistics. That doesn't take into account the windy days and the cold days. But we're here now, in sunny Sequim, Washington, where we have a LOT of sunny days.

So when the Peninsula Fine Arts Center of Port Angeles came up with Paint the Peninsula, I thought, why not?

Participants have to have all of their substrates stamped for the event, meaning every canvas, every board, every watercolor needs to say "Paint the Peninsula" on the back. We have September 4, 5, 6 to paint plein air, and turn in our work for jurying on Saturday, September 7, one of which will be accepted into the show/sale that will be held Saturday night. Sunday is an added opportunity with a Quick Draw (timed two hour painting session) at Camaraderie Cellars. By Sunday I will really be needing a glass of wine. (Actually, I needed one last night, and will most likely follow suit tonight!)

Here's how it's going so far:
Yesterday my husband and I drove 30 miles to a town called Joyce, Washington, since it was on the list of recommended places to paint. We stopped at the Joyce General Store, Est 1911. If you can't find what you're looking for in there you probably don't need it. Two things I forgot to bring- an eraser (I know, I know. But it's a security thing.) which they had a fishbowl full of at 10 cents each, and oil painting medium. No art supplies in the general store, but I bought a small bottle of olive oil. Extra virgin. Five bucks. Works fine.

While I was remembering how to untangle the easel, my husband struck up a conversation with Leonard, the store's owner. Leonard's wife's grandfather built the store as a mercantile for the loggers. Leonard is 81 years old. He knows a lot.

While I painted away, finding not much satisfaction in my work, I might add, there were numerous people who stopped by to chat, ask questions, or just look. The day was overcast, so there was little in the way of contrasting values to add interest to my painting. But I found the most interest to be in the people- people who are fiercely proud of their town, their store and their history. Leonard was sporting a sweatshirt which he designed that read "University of Joyce- Mea Culpa Non." That's Latin for "Not my fault." I had to buy a sweatshirt. With it comes a document -signed by Leonard- that is a "Degree in Insignificance." Too many people, he said, put credence in their degrees. When he was in the working world, outside of Joyce, the only reason they looked at degrees for potential employees was if they made it through college, they probably had the tenacity to get a job done. If their transcripts showed good grades, then chances are they had good enough attendance and paid attention.

I told Leonard I attended the School of Hard Knocks and majored in Situational Awareness. He liked that.

After four hours of painting, I did a small sketch in the journaling style which took about a half hour, and we headed for lunch at the Blackberry Cafe where Roxanne makes the best blackberry pie we'd ever tasted! She has a bunch of first place ribbons from the Clallam County Fair to prove it, too.

As we drove out of town, we crossed bridges sporting signs that read "Itsa Creek" and "Uppa Creek."

The people of Joyce are pretty cool.

Forecast for thunderstorms. Swell. Started out seeing lightning over the Olympic Mountains. Counted "one chimpanzee, two chimpanzee, etc." Got to 10 or 12 before the thunderclaps made me jump. But....I paid my entry fee, so let's saddle up and go!

First to a farm out Port Williams Road about 10 minutes from home. Found a way to set up with the easel protected under the hatch of the minivan and painted the field, the mountains, the clouds. Life is good. Canada geese are on the move everywhere this time of year, but since it's plein air, they go by too fast to be in the paintings. (When I do some studio work from photos later on, the geese will be featured.) In between rain showers, things worked pretty well.

Next stop, John Wayne Marina to work on a little sailboat with a picturesque reflection in the still water. The "in between rain showers" was the drive from point A to point B. The actual painting session was plagued with thunder, lightning, pouring rain, and feeling good about being close to home where I know the paramedics.

Third stop, 3 Crabs Road, which dead ends at the water's edge where I could see the Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance, and lightning strikes out over the Straits. This painting turned out to be one quick study, since I was finally getting the hang of working on location, what to bring, how to set up the vehicle for efficiency and get the most out of this new experience.

More progress tomorrow......Additional images to come later!