Friday, April 30, 2010

Winding Down the Paint Out

This afternoon I turned in two more paintings to the Winter Park Paint Out at the Polasek Museum. The sunny days ended today and clouds and a shower broke our string of luck.
I retreated to the studio and cleaned up and framed the work I had.

Last night was dinner with the museum board and patrons. Most of the artists had stories about the week - where they painted and what they saw. I went to Kraft Azalea Gardens yesterday to paint the lake, the old cypress trees and moss. The egrets are still nesting and the racket of the chicks drowned out the usual city noise. I learned a lot from painting each day in the elements. I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their skills.

Tomorrow is the last morning for painting. Our work has to be turned in by noon and the gala is in the evening. Then it's going to be a day off for me.
What's new: Park Avenue South, 9x12, oil on canvas

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chasing the Light

A cool and beautiful morning. A repeat of yesterday, just 10 degrees cooler. The grounds at the Polasek were filled with artists consumed in trying to beat the changing light. I went back to a painting I started yesterday. It is the Pan sculpture.
This week is a test of skill and endurance . Figures, water, trees, buildings and streets. Set up, paint, move to another spot, repeat.
Chase the light. I'm tired tonight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Night at the Museum

Tuesday is officially day two of the Winter Park Paint Out. I started out at the Polasek about 8am and got a couple of paintings underway on the grounds. The weather was "picture perfect" (sorry) so I couldnt come up with a reason to leave until after lunch time. Then I had to get back to the studio and give time to a large painting I started last week. I went back to the Polasek and got in an hour or so of painting as the sun went down, we all ate pizza and I then kayaked with Matthew Cornell through the canal to Lakes Virginia and Mizell. The moon was coming up and we listened to the peacocks along Genius Drive calling from the woods. A few of the die hards stayed late on the museum grounds and worked with lights to get a nocturn painting. Not a bad day at work. Tomorrow night is a painting session on the lake at Houston's Restaurant on 17-92 in Winter Park. And it should be a great show next Saturday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

First New Piece for the Paint Out

Monday morning was gloomy and damp after a huge storm that lasted most of the night. Sunday night the artists got together with the Paint Out committee and the museum patrons for a socializer and it was capped by a number drawing for display spaces on the museum walls. It's time to get busy since the event starts in earnest today.
I headed back to Park Ave hoping for a little sun and just as I left the museum grounds, the sky lifted and blue appeared. I spent the next couple of hours on the second of two Park Avenue paintings. At around the same time of day I had previously worked on the other painting, I moved across the street and continued on that one.
Today things were a little more lively on the avenue and the light a little brighter for painting. I got the first piece finished. It now hangs drying on my reserved wall at the Polasek.
I might pick a little simpler composition next time.

What's new: Park at New England, oil on canvas 20" x 16"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Ghost of Sam Peckinpah

I awoke this morning and got out of bed way too early for the amount of sleep I got. I made it to the Polasek Museum without coffee though I knew that was begging trouble. While I and a few of the museum staff and volunteers waited for the coffee to brew on the breezeway, someone asked me where I was going to paint. I thought the old Colony Theater might make a good subject. The Colony sits on Park Avenue in the center of town. At one time it was where Winter Park went to the movies.

Debbie Komanski said, "I worked in that theater when I was 15. I ushered and I also sat in the little booth at the front and sold tickets. When it was hot, it was hotter in the booth. When the weather turned cold, it was cold in there too. And I listened to the soundtrack to Straw Dogs so many times it still gives me the creeps. When there weren't ticket sales going on, my manager would make sure I was doing my homework instead of wasting time."
That conversation made it even more inviting to paint the street and the old Colony marquis. No one sits in that booth anymore. These days the Colony cleverly disquises itself as a Pottery Barn, and I doubt the staff does any homework when things are quiet.

But still, I love that kind of background when I paint something. A story, an experience... it makes the paint come alive somehow. A good painting is built on experience or a recollection or emotion. It gives it purpose and usually just makes it a better painting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Day One of Winter Park Paint Out. I checked in at the Polasek Museum our headquarters for the week. We artists are being asked by Winter Park Magazine to keep notes in a journal detailing our experiences. While I normally use my blog for that, this week I will handwrite some notes too.

After check in, it's off to find the perfect spot. I think this is like finding your own fishing hole where you know the big ones lurk. Of course who really knows. I drive by a couple of spots that look great. By the time I circle the block these spots look as ordinary as dirt. I drive over to the Rollins campus thinking of painting Knowles Chapel but I'll just let parking guide the serendipity. What was I thinking. I've never found a parking spot on this campus in 25 years if the school was in session, so this Saturday morning in April is just another 5 mph convoluted drive-by.

Downtown Park Ave is bustling. Crowds from an event in the park are breaking up and I notice a previously thought of target for painting - the big clock at Park and New England. The parking gods smile and the sun breaks from behind a cloud. Looks like it is meant to be.

I'm not sure if I will be pestered to death by passers-by but I am supposed to talk up the show and what better place. Wow, I picked a complicated scene though. A three point perspective throwdown, though after a few minutes I forget about everything except what I'm looking at. And it seems I'm invisible to everyone around. That's good and bad- right now mostly good.

It always seems kids are the best at talking to the artist. One little one briefs me on her art resume and further lets me know she will be staying up late tonight to paint the sunset at home. Heads up, mom and dad.
I'll post the finished piece later. It needs another hour or so of work in similar light.

Friday, April 23, 2010

One From Column A and B

For me, the biggest dilemma for the Winter Park Paint Out is scene selection. Gardens or street scene? Frankly, I enjoy painting street scenes more but they don't often convey the serene mood of trees and water. And there is the added work distraction of people wanting to know what you are doing painting there on the sidewalk. Got to say its fun though. Here are a couple of warm up paintings. One from each genre.

What's new: Eucalyptus Tree 10"x8" and Lyman at Pennsylvania 8"x10"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Training

Yesterday I gathered my courage and loaded my paints and easel and into the van. This is the painter's version of, "the hardest thing about running is lacing up your shoes". I drove over to the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park for spring training of sorts. Next Saturday the Winter Park Paint Out begins and I will be painting plein air in the event for a week.

The controlled light and climate of the studio are hard to leave. But for someone like me who spends five days a week painting trees, it helps to occasionally get out and look at some. I bust out all my shades of green for this event. Nearly everything is in bloom and standing under the canopy of trees around here makes it seem like there is a giant green scrim filtering the light. I got a nice little painting, I thought, and today I was feeling cocky enough to get out again. This time a street scene. I'll post them when I clean them up.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mc Rae Studios Spring Opening

This Saturday evening another opening is upon us at McRae Art Studios. This is our annual Spring open house and new work will go up on the walls in each artist's studio. I always try to get as many small pieces up as I can and showcase a couple of large ones. While there is a lot of cleaning and preparation needed to get the studios into shape, it is a good time for all of us to come together for a few hours and enjoy each other's company. ugh, there is all that sweeping and mopping though.

What's new: Great Plains Barn, oil on canvas, 5"x5". $275. framed

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Case of ENF

The economy is on the mend. Or is the economy still at bottom? Our houses are worth more this month, though they might be worth less than two months ago. Job losses have stabilized but might stay at these high rates for years. Consumer confidence is low, but there was more consumer spending last month than in the last 12 months. The stock market? Closing in on 11,000 today.

I think I have Economic News Fatigue. No wonder artists and galleries are finding clients hard to come by. No one knows what is going on. Remember when economics was somewhat stable and boring?

Whats new: Colorado Skyline, 6"x6"