Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Plein Air Rockies 2011


Lazy Stream, 9 x 12, oils
 I was honored to be selected as one of 30 artists participating in this years Plein Air Rockies event. I would have two weeks to paint in and around Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my favorite places on earth. I had rigged up a backpack that could carry all my gear so that, in theory, I could paint anywhere I could hike to. Where to start? I began with a winding section of Fall river in Endovalley with Deer Ridge in the distance.

Morning at Nymph Lake, 9 x 12, oils
For the next piece I got off to an early start, hiking a mile up to Nymph Lake from Bear Lake trailhead. My first memory of this lake was many years ago. I was irritated that with all the natural beauty they should have water lilies as well. Couldn't us flatlanders have something to ourselves?

Fire and Ice, 8 x 14, oils
That afternoon I setup near Storm Pass trailhead. One of the best vistas in the park with a commanding view of Otis Peak, Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain.

Morning at Copeland Falls, 9 x 12, oils
 I failed at my first attempt at painting Copeland Falls. I arrived at Wild Basin too late and there was no parking left at the trailhead. That's typical for August. You have to get there by 8 a.m. to get a decent spot which I did the next day.

Crossing Paths, 4 x 6, oils
 The Cultural Arts Council provided each of  us with a 4 x 6 inch panel to do a miniature painting that would be judged as part of the show. I chose a footbridge near a picnic area. Being so small I knew it had to be a simple scene that read instantly and had lots of color. At that size there was no excuse for not shoveling on thick paint, which I did with a palette knife. It sold immediately.

Nightfall, 11 x 14, oils
 One evening was designated for doing nocturnes. I'd had the idea of doing Estes Park with the front range looming behind it for several years and found a nice vantage point east of town. The painting captures the feel of evening over a two hour period, not just one moment in time.

The Quickdraw: You have 90 minutes
 The final morning of the event was The Quickdraw. All artists setup in a downtown park and have 90 minutes to turn in a finished painting to be auctioned on the spot. I originally found a river scene that I was comfortable with but then challenged myself to do an outdoor restaurant instead. I was lured by the saturated colors of the umbrellas and flowers. Out of small panels, I had to do a 12 x 12. I used my largest brushes throughout to cover the canvas in the shortest amount of time. I'm pleased with the results and the painting generated some lively bidding at the auction.

Petunia Pandemonium, 12 x 12, oils
Most of these paintings are hanging in the Cultural Arts Council Gallery in Estes Park through October 2 (along with paintings by much better artists.) Special thanks to Linda Vogel, all of her volunteers and the great patrons of art in Estes Park.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Project Reclamation or Why Would I Paint a Landscape on Broken Furniture?


The Leedy-Voulkos Gallery in KC is partnering with Spiva Art Center in Joplin to have an art auction raising funds for Joplin's art community. The twist is that the art is being made from tornado debris. Pictured above is the debris pile that the artists had to choose from for their projects. It smelled terrible. Photo courtesy of the Leedy-Voulkos Gallery.

Not being a found object artist, I chose the side panels of a dresser drawer that had blown apart. Note the  dovetail joints. First I cleaned it with bleach water and a scrub brush. Then I took it to woodworker Roy Wall to join the two pieces together. 

We were told that the artwork did not need to be related to Joplin and should reflect what we normally do. In the summer you are most likely to find me painting Missouri streams. It just so happens the nearest clear streams are near Joplin. In this case Shoal Creek. I sealed the wood with medium (Galkyd Light) and tried to paint in such a way as to show as much wood grain as possible. Warm midtones like tree trunks, foreground water and some leaves were just left as exposed wood.