Sunday, September 19, 2010

Painting a Rainy Day

"Rain or Shine?", 8x10", oil on gessoed panel

"Woodland Path", 8x8", oil on gessoed panel

This past Saturday, I awoke to a torrential downpour, lightening and thunder outside. With only one eye open I was sorely tempted to roll over and play dead. However, after having been sick with a virus for over a week and a bad case of cabin fever I determined to struggle up out of sleep and dress for painting out-of-doors.

I'm a member of the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Assn. better known to its members as G.L. PAPA. The all day event was scheduled at Sleepy Hollow State Park about a 40 minute drive from my home. I decided, due to the weather, to at least enjoy the drive up and back if nothing more. After downing a quick breakfast I headed out. The weather was so awful that I was convinced I would be the only one crazy enough to make the effort. Much to my surprise I found six other painters at the park who also shared a desire to paint. With no other option, we began painting from inside our cars and were finally able to migrate outside about an hour into our day. After a very damp, cold morning we broke at noon for fellowship and a hot lunch of grilled brats and salads provided by a couple of members. One of them were organized enough to bring a spouse along who likes to grill. It doesn't get better than that.

The two studies above were the result of a good dose of determination and no matter how wet, the inspiration of Michigan's early fall color. One was finished on site and the second touched up at home later. All in all, a fine day...if not a bit damp.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back to Basics

"Onion Study", 11x14", oil on canvas

It's been a good but busy summer and I see that I've been remiss in adding new posts. Sometimes it is just plain hard to stay focused. I find that is true of my work as well. When I have periods of not being able to paint I find it difficult to get back into the swing of my normal painting process. It's at times like this that I force myself to go back to the basics. Last month was one of those times.

To jump start I often do a simple still life. This allows me to focus on the process and not the subject. "Onion Study" was successful in getting back to thinking the process including my use of brush work and edge control. This was a fun piece, no pressure since it was a study, ending with success. It gave me the encouragement to begin several larger paintings that have been on a back burner for awhile.

Speaking of which, I often have a handful of paintings stored in the studio in various stages of completion. This gives me time to think problems through and also to keep my interest level on any given painting at a peak. I don't get bogged down feeling the pressure of having to finish a painting unless of course I'm working on a commission deadline, which is another story.

What do you do to get jump started? You may email your comments or questions to me by clicking on the small white envelope below.