Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Plein Air - Stratford Ecological Center

Today we painted at the Stratford Ecological Center near Delaware Ohio, during their annual Harvest Fair. Lots of interesting things to paint, although many of them (farm animals) keep moving! So those are best painted from photos.

I decided to paint the droopy sunflowers in the garden. Although I had brought my painting umbrella to shade my painting, the sun was at such an angle, that I quickly got overheated. I know better. I am such a fair haired lass, that I really have to paint in the shade. I got a very good start, but quickly became aware I needed to get in the shade. I will finish this in the studio.

Below are a few process shots:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Plein Air - Rock Mill

Fantastic painting day! Weather was bright, clear and cool. I even had cold toes and fingers, and had to wear gloves for a couple hours! Ahhh,,,, FALL. We painted near Lithopolis Ohio at the Rock Mill on the head waters of the Hocking River. This is a great grist mill that has been in the process of being restored for several years. Dave Fey, of the Fairfield County Park District has been spearheading the restoration. Dave was very gracious to us today and gave us a wonderful history lesson.
Lisa Schorr and Dave Fey
Dave is letting us have an exhibit and reception inside the mill in October (details to be finalized) of today's paintings, and then he will be arranging for a larger venue for a longer exhibit period in one of the county's public buildings.

Most of the group arrived about 8:30 and we got to work. I think we ended up with about 22 artists today, and this was about a 50 minute drive from home. Everyone said it was definitely worth the drive! 

I decided to walk down in the gorge and paint the view of the wheel, mill, covered bridge and the waterfall! Yes, quite a complex scene. I got a bit lost a few times, working out the rocks, but I think the painting turned out pretty nice. I still want to do a few tweaks before it gets framed and delivered for the exhibit. 

9x12", pastel on Pastelmat paper
It's been a long day and after going through my pictures, I couldn't seem to cull them much, so I will post quite a few here so you can see the whole area.

I had given my paper a wash of gouache at home to make a interesting underpainting.
 Here, I have started to draw in some of the structure with a hard pastel

Thursday, September 12, 2013

You Drive that Far to just Paint Trees??

Went to dinner with an artist friend of mine last night. She doesn't get to paint as much as she'd like based mostly on lack of motivation and self-doubt. While she has done plein air painting in the past, she made a comment which I feel I need to speak about, especially to those who are not artists and wonder why I bother to get up early on my day off to go painting outside.....

She wondered why my group bothers to drive 50 miles away to paint, when most of us just paint trees and fields which we can paint in our own backyard?

My answer is that I do not paint plein air for the resulting painting - I paint plein air for the whole experience. I greatly enjoy being out in nature - feeling the breeze, bugs, smells. Finding a nice shadow that appeals to me that makes me want to capture that moment.... I enjoy the comradery of traveling with my friends to our painting site, our banter between the easels, or painting in a solitary corner in silence.

The resulting painting is just a trinket of the day - a souvenir  - I can look back later at the piece and remember where it was painted, who was there that day, etc... I am never 100% happy with the paintings, but I can look back at some of these done in plein air and see how my skills have progressed this summer. That is why I try to post all my paintings, not just the 'winners'. We all paint failures, but most artists online only post their best.

I think it is important to let people see, it is not easy. Art takes lots of time, expense and sweat/tears. Even if I paint a nice painting in one morning, it is the accumulation of my life experience that makes it worthy of a fair price.

Practice is important and when you can combine it with a pleasant Saturday morning with friends - it doesn't get much better than that.....