Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spring City 2013.2

6" x 8" Oil on Panel
This is part two of Spring City's 2013 plein air event. Part one can be found here

Friday I didn't feel like painting but went anyway. Once again the weather was unsettled, with sunshine taking turns with wind and rain. I settled on a simple subject and made a small painting. That painting is shown at the top of this post. Friday evening I attended the artist's reception where I visited with other painters and enjoyed the exhibit. The last three days had been rather tiring, so I stayed only an hour or so before heading up into the mountains to find a place to camp - and sleep. Someone was already in my earlier campsite so I headed up higher, up through a long series of switchbacks, and found an open meadow surrounded by aspen and evergreen. I had this spot all to myself! Arriving at the campsite after dark, I enjoyed a display of lightning in storms off to the north and a show of stars and the Milky Way overhead before thickening clouds ended the star show. A gentle rain passed by during the night.

10" x 8" Oil on Panel
When I awoke in the morning there was only an hour to get ready and get down to the "quick paint" event. Once again I didn't feel like painting but went anyway. The morning was overcast with occasional light drizzle. For some reason, instead of choosing to paint one of my usual subjects, I went all architectural and painted an old church. Not the best subject for me in a "quick paint", but I went for it anyway. That painting is shown in the second image in this post. After painting the church, I realized the composition was reminiscent of the only other plein air painting I've ever made of a church. 

Later in the day I walked into the exhibit and saw that a painting of mine had sold. That made me feel good enough to go down to a local German cafe and buy a couple bratwursts with sauerkraut and hot mustard - my only indulgence the whole trip.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Spring City 2013

11" x 14" Oil on Panel
I'm right in the middle of Spring City's plein air competition - one of the biggest and best in Utah! The image shown above is of the painting I did today. This morning began with clear blue skies. Clouds are building but the weather didn't impact painting today. In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing how other painters might have incorporated the building clouds into their landscapes! Yesterday the weather was more unsettled, with scattered rain, thunder, and variable light. The image below is of the painting I made yesterday.

9" x 12" Oil on Panel
There are some pale grey bluffs southwest of Spring City, covered with juniper and pinyon pine trees. After doing some off-roading, exploring the bluffs, I thought it might be a good place to camp. I found a nice spot and settled in for the night. Passing rain showers and occasional sunshine created a complete rainbow. A good sign, thought I!

That was, until the shooting started! Driving into the bluffs, there was nothing to indicate that an hour or two after my arrival a bunch of people would come into the trees nearby and begin target shooting. I couldn't see them, but they were close enough that I could hear them talking. They had various calibers, all of which were used with enthusiasm. Numerous ricochets zinged overhead. I quickly packed everything back into my car and got out of there. There was a pause in the shooting as I started the car and drove away. The shooters might not have known I was there until they heard the car. A minute down the dirt track I heard the shooting start up again.

Crossing the valley and driving a few miles up into the mountains in the dark, I found another campsite. Left alone this time, I got a good night's sleep.

There's one more day of painting left, plus a "quick paint" on Saturday. The big art show and sale is this Saturday. There's also a lot of other events going on for the Spring City Arts Festival, so check out their website for more onfo! I'm planning on completing one or two more paintings, eating a bratwurst or two, and staying far away from any impromptu shooting ranges!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Portrait Sketch in Charcoal

12" x 9" Charcoal Pencil on Paper
I went with the dramatic lighting in this charcoal sketch, which was done at the weekly drawing session two Thursdays ago. There's more that could be done to refine the drawing, but I'll leave it as it was at the end of the session. Sometimes I'll work more on a sketch after getting back from a drawing session but more often I'll leave it be. There's a lot to learn from looking at a sketch later and seeing what I did while the model was still in front of me.

There's no drawing class this Thursday (August 29th) because some of us will be at the plein air painting competition in Spring City instead. Sessions will resume the following Thursday (Sept. 5).

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

African Woman

12" x 9" Pastel on Colorfix Paper
Here is an older portrait from the weekly drawing sessions. The drawing sessions sometimes have an international flavor, and on that particular day our model was a graceful, dignified, and colorful woman from Africa. It's been a while but some dusty corner of my memory seems to think she was from the Congo. Charcoal pencils are probably what I use most at the drawing sessions, but this was one of those times I was glad I brought along the pastels!

For more about drawing sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "sketching" or "drawing."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Alpine Paintings

12" x 16" Oil on Canvas Panel
What can you do when summertime temps get into the 100°F+? You could sweat it out like I did in the last post - or - if you live near the Rocky Mountains you might just head up to where the air is cooler. The first Tuesday in July I went up high into the Wasatch Mountains to paint. When the paved road ran out I parked the car and walked about another mile to the scene shown in the painting above. Down in the valley things are getting dried out, brittle and more flammable. Up at this altitude though, things are still green, alpine flowers are blooming, and there are still small patches of snow tucked into sheltered spots. I enjoyed painting to the sounds of different bird songs, and got to see some other wildlife (deer, squirrel, rabbit and marmot) while hiking to and from the painting spot.

11" x 14" Oil on Canvas Panel
About a month earlier, I painted in the same general area, when there were larger snow patches and the alpine flowers had not yet fully come out. That day's painting is the second one shown in this post. The patterns of snow and rock in the second painting were what attracted my attention to the scene. With days like these and places like this, why would anyone want to work indoors?