At long last I get to complete the report. I seem to have caught the same bug that laid me low for the month of February–probably from the plane home–and just hope that after only 8 days, I’m getting over this iteration of it.
I left you in my previous blog with 4 paintings to be posted. The first two are from one location on Collier Boulevard, farther South from our usual haunts. I discovered South Beach when we went in search of the beach wedding, and conceived the idea of one daylight painting showing the colorful, tree-lined boulevant with high-rise condo buildings behind, and a later one showing what happens at night, with lights lining the street and dotting the windows of the high-rises. Mary had other stuff to do that afternoon, so I was dropped at my chosen spot, by her always obliging husband, Frank. I set up in the swale between the boulevard and the sidewalk on the right side of the street. I got lots of welcome attention from low-rise residents from my side of the boulevard as they strolled by on their way to the beach. A few voiced a guess that I was painting the big, pink building that was my backdrop because I lived there. If only!
It certainly wasn’t a beautiful building, but it was an interesting building, and it was representative of the many such buildings lining the South Beach. (By the way, I decided to take these photos with my iPhone in order to be consistent with the ones already posted, but they didn’t come out as well as the ones that were photographed in the South Florida light. I was able to manipulate them so what you are seeing is pretty accurate–by reducing exposure, increasing contrast and saturation, and increasing red and yellow. Go figure!)
Mary came to pick me up after about 2 hours and we grabbed a quick supper at a nearby restaurant. By the time we had returned to the site, we had about 1 hour before sunset. I composed my picture by moving farther away and including more of the buildings on my left. I had basically a black and blue scene. Then the lights started to come on. Not in the pink building but on the grounds–Christmas-like lights wound around the three palm trees, fountains sprouted under spotlights, and walls and landscaping got their share of the drama. There were a few glows issuing from a few of the balconies, but very few.
Mary observed that many owners of condos on Marco spend only a few weeks at the time there since they tended to have many desirable locations to call home. It’s also possible that the windows are glazed with impenetrable coatings, like limos get. Anyway, the painting was my very first “nocturne”, which is what artists call a painting that depicts a night scene. Most nocturnes are painted in the studio, I’ll wager, but there are plein air nocturnists. I don’t know how they do it–shifting focus from darkened scene to lit painting seems impossible to me. I quit pretty soon after sundown. In order to pack up my gear, I deployed my cell phone flashlight, and one of my strolling admirers held it for me while I gathered up stuff. It was fun.
The next day was Tuesday, the day before my flight home. Every since I had been visiting Mary on Marco (2009), she had been mentioning her desire to paint a certain bridge. She already had one really good painting of it, but felt she could do even better one day. I asked her to make that day that Tuesday. So off we went, toward the Everglades, a road not heavily trafficked. I set up close to the road, so I got more of the dust blown our way by big trucks. It was a little unnerving to have the trucks barreling right at you, for we were on a curve. I have lived to tell the tale. It’s just what plein air painters have to do, you know, risking life and limb for their art!
Here is Mary’s version in watercolor:
Since my flight wasn’t scheduled to take off until after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, we were able to meet up with the Wednesday Painters again, this time inside a private, gated community with its own beach and wildlife area. A marshy area caught my eye–the reflections mostly, but with a stray clump of marsh grass providing a great focal point. I set up with a view of the clump, next to the railings, and decided to include the railings in my composition. I suspected that the framing of the reeds by the fence contributed to my decision to paint the reeds.
Compare a cropped version without the railings:
So was I right? Or is the Detail better? Because I paint on paper, I can easily crop the painting for best presentation.
Here is a photo Mary took of me just before I started to pack up my gear–sorry about the absence of reds–fault of her iPhone sending, or mine receiving. The two wet paintings were ensconced in their Art Cocoons there to my right.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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