Saturday, May 14, 2011

Joshua Been Workshop


After the Augusta Plein Air Event I was home for a few days and turned around and went back for a three day workshop with an artist on the rise. I've competed with him at five plein air events since 2008 and always been impressed with his work. He had me rethinking everything about the way I paint through discussions, demos and guidance on the small timed studies we did (he would usually give us a 30 minutes to one hour per piece.) I ended up doing 7 paintings and would have done more but I opted to watch him do demos instead. The four pieces reproduced here were each done in an hour.

 Bamboo Path, 6" x 8", oils
I love exotic gardening and bamboo can actually do well here if you can handle how invasive it is. The Augusta Brewery has a nice grove started and has cut an inviting path through it.

 Ancient Roots, 6" x 8", oils
This piece and the next were painted at a lovely section of Femme Osage Creek. This massive sycamore will probably show up in some future paintings. Make that definitely.

 Looking Upstream, 6"x 8", oils
I was spoiled to grow up surrounded by Ozark creeks like this. In KC they are all muddy gray.

Tree Skeleton, 6" x 8", oils
This was painted in the backyard of my host family, Jan and Jim Rohfling (thanks again.) They have a beautiful home and a great view of the Missouri River valley. The subject is probably something only another artist will appreciate (i.e. not very sellable.) I learned way more than I was able to process during the workshop, am still putting all the pieces together and expect upcoming paintings will really show what I got out of it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Augusta Plein Air 2011


The weather was not great. A few nice days were outnumbered by the rains that are causing so much flooding and hardship. But it did force me to find creative ways to keep on painting in spite of adversity, which I'm thankful for. Let's get right to a few of the keepers from my 10 days there.
In the Zone, 9"x 12", oils
I tried to paint out on the deck at Montelle Winery but eventually the rain forced me under the covered area to start a new one. Other artists had staked out all the best spots so I was up on a dark balcony and decided to paint fellow artist, Daniel Fishback.  Not bad considering the circumstances.

Vulture Vantage, 11" x 14", oils
Klondike Park is a geologic oddity just a few miles east of Augusta. Rolling hills and picturesque farms are replaced with jagged limestone and sandtone cliffs and a clear green lake with a white sand beach. It was once a mining operation using the sand to make glass products. I learned my lesson from Montelle and set up under a picnic shelter with a view of a prominent cliff owned by a group of vultures. The dead tree on top suited them well and gave them a commanding view of the area. There were usually four up there but my inner greeting card artist painted two hoping some couple might relate to this pair.

 Wet on Wet, 9" x 12", oils
At the beautiful community of Augusta Shores I setup outside under threatening skies and was soon forced to retreat from a steady rain. With no shelters nearby I had to find some alternative to quitting. I ended up doing the painting from the passenger seat of my car with the window rolled down halfway while turning my head 90˚ to look at the subject. I was pretty cramped with my pochade box on my knees and in continual fear of getting paint on the upholstery. At one point I heard a knock on my window and it was director Vic Brown delivering a sack lunch. This is why we keep coming back to Augusta.

Morning Light, 6" x 8", oils
Waking to sunlight for the first time at this event, I got a quick start on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River "bottoms." I worked small and gave myself a one hour time limit.

Valley Vista, 9" x 12", oils
The last painting day was perfect. I found this scene high up on Schluersburg Road but it had no shoulder for parking or painting. There was a farmhouse getting the best of this view and an old man mowing the yard so I asked if I could set up there. He was very gracious and I later found out from him and his wife that this was a very popular place for artists. Even though I was on the highest ridge around, there was almost no wind. That's as good as it gets.

Since people ask, I'll add that I received no awards and made no sales at the conclusion. Sometimes that's the way it goes. It's not how I judge success. I challenged myself every day, made new friends and am pleased with what I accomplished. In closing I'd like to thank all involved in putting on this event and especially Jim and Jan Rohfling for their hospitality.