I have been not performing, blog-wise, up to the standards I set for myself this summer. If I had met those standards, two topics would have been set before you already and the third would have been pulled together for today. The problem, as often happens, is just when I gather my thoughts and my photo illustrations, I notice something in one of the paintings that I must, MUST fix. Then after the fix, a new photo must be taken. It has been a summer of revisions and regrets.
One topic was to have been: best and worst plein air (marine) painting of the summer, covering why I thought one was good and the other not–but wondering how I could have rescued the one that was awful. A second topic was to have been the rest of the works resulting from the Stuart Ober course–you’ve seen the portrait of Sparkle, but I did a bunch of other stuff that never would have got started but for the impetus of taking a course called “Explorations in Oil Painting.” One of them could have been a topic in itself, as I worked on a 12 by 36 of “Impressions of Manhattan from the Whitney Museum”, a complex skyline with streetscapes that can always be improved or added to. I’m still adding.
This week, I hoped to be posting all the Figure in the Garden paintings from David Curtis’ garden, 2016 edition. Those paintings are finished, but the last one still needs to be photographed. I scaled up to 16×20, making the photographing more challenging.
And now, as topics pile up, I just got back from a workshop up North with Michael Chesley Johnson, for which blog I made promises. I feel a little like Mickey Mouse must have felt in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. (Disney movie “Fantasia”)
I am going to take the advice I always gave my tax delinquent clients: do current returns first, then the past-due ones. Therefore, today without further ado, without messing about, I am posting photos of the three plein air paintings from the last two days, showing what I can accomplish in the approximately two hours available for each, before stopped by lunch and/or rain. Raw footage, as it were.
Excuse me while I go snap photos of each one with my iPhone.
. . . .
Eight students gathered at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett NH to learn plein air painting from Michael Chesley Johnson, of Campobello and Sedona, for perhaps the shortest workshop ever–two days. We were lucky with the weather, in that the rain held off Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning until I was able to get one painting each time close to completion. I produced a third painting during the Wednesday rain. . .storm is too strong a word. Rain Event. More of that later.
Tuesday morning MCJ opened with a demo of how to paint rocks. We piled into a gazebo near the Jackson Historical Museum– it was shaded, just the right size for 8 students and a teacher, next to a rock-filled Wildcat River, and near our next stop: a preview of the museum’s upcoming show. Then lunch at a local deli, then back to the Wildcat, a river responsible for the phenomenon known as Jackson Falls. We got some sun, but mostly clouds, so we got experience with painting en plein air on overcast days. How to find a “hook” when there are no lights and shadows to create drama? Well, falling water is always interesting. Unfortunately, New Hampshire has been suffering a record drought, so instead of impressive, thundering cataracts of water, we got meandering trickles.
(MCJ photographed me working at the Falls and posted it to Facebook, if you are interested. I was wearing my usual distinctive hat, so everyone who knows me recognized me. I could probably link to it, but I don’t have time to learn how to do that! Got to get this post done.)
Jackson Falls, v. 5 or 6
Day Two, or Wednesday as most people know it, we headed down into the Valley to experience the location of Albert Bierstadt’s “Moat Mountain, Intervale, New Hampshire”. That is why I have titled this painting Bierstadt Meadow. Most of us chose to paint the ledges that are to the right of my scene, but I’ve a bee in my bonnet all summer about the pinky-purplish grass that shows up at this time of summer. It is most prevalent along highways. It was not present in this meadow, but there were other plants sporting colors in the same family, so I thought I would try to fake it.
Bierstadt Meadow with Bluebird House
We were treated to very little sunlight, but the weather forecast did not include rain. Nevertheless, Sharon (Sharon Allen, who organized this workshop and spends half her life painting around Mt. Washington Valley) “felt” it would rain and urged us to move to a sheltered location–under a bridge in Conway from which we could paint a red covered bridge from below and to the side. When we got there, most of the river (Swift and Saco merge near here) was, well, absent. We were going to get more practice painting rocks. However, a puddle under the bridge reflected the red covered bridge, and I chose to make that the subject of my painting.
Under the Bridge, of Another Bridge
All of my paintings were painted on the carton paper sold by Judson’s plein air supplier. The paper slows me down a little because it absorbs paint, making it harder for me to cover the surface. But once my surface is juicy with paint, I can go to town. The geometric shape on the right is the stanchion [is that correct term?] of the overhead bridge. When the rain blew in [is Sharon a witch?], it disturbed the puddle and handicapped me. Oh, well. Had to fake it.
Since I probably will not get to the topic, best and worst marine painting, and I cannot NOT show you the best, I will now show the best. Two “tall ships” came to the Portsmouth area. August 12 was the day I chose to visit them. One docked in Portsmouth for people to tour. The other docked in New Castle for people to ride. I would have bought a ticket to ride if my timing were better, but as it was, I had to wait for the “Harvey Gamache” to return to port before I could grab a photo of it. Meanwhile, I painted its expected path from New Castle’s Grand Island Park. In my studio at home, I added the sailing ship using my photo as reference.
The Harvey Gamache Passing into New Castle
I have some happy news: two of my pet paintings will be part of a nationally juried exhibit in a museum! The museum is the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in a place called Solomons, Maryland. The Sculpture Garden is affiliated with the Smithsonian! The two honored paintings are “Sparkle”, which had been sold but the owners have agreed to lend the painting for this exhibit; and “Partners in Crime”–the two tuxedo cats on a cat tree.
Partners in Crime
The exhibit’s theme is “Fur, Feathers, and Fins–Our Faithful Pets”. It will run from October 7 through January 29.
Other places where you can catch a few of my paintings are:
- NH Antiques Coop in Milford NH
- Ellis River Art Gallery in Jackson NH
- Bartlett Inn in Bartlett NH
- Red Jacket Resort in North Conway NH
- Bernerhof Inn in Glen NH
- Mesmer & Deleaut Law Firm in Manchester NH
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, phone cases, pillows and the like at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me by email to email@example.com.
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