Friday, May 18, 2012

White River Paint Out 2012

"Fletcher Mountain Vista" 9 x 12, oils. Best of Show
    I spent a lot of time in the '90s hiking and canoeing the Arkansas Ozarks. It's like the Missouri Ozarks on steroids, everything is just bigger and wilder. I've wanted to paint there but lacked the opportunity since I got into plein air about a decade ago. Thankfully some folks have finally created a paint out right in the heart of the region.

"Solitude" 9 x 12, oils.
    The event was in early May and I went down a day early to scope the place out in search of scenic spots. I headed first to Buffalo Point on the mighty Buffalo River. It's towering bluffs and crystal clear water never disappoint. I drove through the national forest, Norfolk and then on to Cotter looking for other access points to the Buffalo and White Rivers. This was going to be an awesome place to paint.

"High-Water Mark" 5 x 7, oils.
  I ended up doing five paintings in two days including taking an Honorable Mention in the Quick Paint competition. On the awards day I won my first ever Best of Show. I also won Best First-Timer and the Anna and John Riggs Purchase Award. There were so many areas I still want to paint that I'll have to go back next year.

"Enjoying the Ride" 8 x 10, oils.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Augusta Plein Air 2012

Me in my $5 WalMart hoodie for a riverfront sunset.
  Ken, Jason and I left New Harmony, Indiana and drove straight to Augusta, Missouri for their annual competition. Third time for Ken and I, but Jason's first. We were originally going to call it a day off from painting but ended up "going for it" at the riverfront park in nearby Washington.

"The Light Show" 8 x 10, oils.

   Augusta has daily competitions and Monday's was to paint the historic town. I chose an old stone shed/garage mainly because it was midday and I was facing it's north side so the light wouldn't change dramatically. I originally chose to make the roses the center of interest but after about an hour the sun began to rake over the west side creating dappled light on the stonework and I had a whole new painting. It ended up garnering an Honorable Mention.

"Beautiful Shed" 9 x 12, oils. Honorable Mention.
   Tuesdays competition was in Klondike Park, a geologic oddity of craggy bluffs and a lake with a white sand beach. We had heard about a scenic rock outcropping so Jason, Laura Kratz and I set out to find it and got a great workout in the process as it was close to the highest point in the park.

Jason painting the rock up on Hogback Ridge in Klondike Park.
   As a fun turn of events, Jason won the Klondike Purchase Award with Ken and I getting Honorable Mentions.

"Top of Klondike" 9 x 12, oils. Honorable Mention. SOLD
   The next day I took Ken and Jason to Femme Osage Creek, my favorite place to paint in the region. There are so many paintings waiting to be found there. We also had a themed competition this year called "Springtime in the Vineyard." I had painted two vineyard scenes but the first was purchased off my easel so I entered the second one and won the Purchase Award from Mt Pleasant Winery. I think the owner and vineyard manager were relieved that I wanted to chat about wine instead of art!

"Dappled Light on Femme Osage Creek" 9 x 12, oils.
"Welcome to Augusta" 8 x 10, oils. SOLD
"Missouri Terroir" 8 x 10, oils. Vineyard Purchase Award.
A not so spontaneous moment with Mt Pleasant owner Chuck Dressel
    We usually went out and painted again after dinner so I was able to get in another sunset painting from the Hancock Bottoms and a nocturne of Johann's little store/gas station.

"The Golden Hour" 8 x 10, oils.
"Sorry, We're Closed" 8 x 10, oils.
Jason ended up winning the Artist's Choice award plus Second Place overall. We all had sales that day to conclude a very successful trip.

First Brush of Spring 2012

The historic cottage that we stayed in.
    My first plein air competition of the new year was the "First Brush of Spring" in New Harmony, Indiana. It was my first time to participate in this event that featured over 160 artists. New Harmony was founded as a utopian community in the early 1800's. For lodging, fellow artists Jason Sacran, Ken Chapin and I rented a cottage built in about 1820, part of the original settlement. On the landing between the floors is an exposed wall where you can see how the homes were made without nails. There were artists painting the house the whole time we were there. One morning I was standing in the hallway, bleary eyed and in pajamas and notice a woman with her face pressed against the window. She said "There's a man in there!" to which I mumbled "paint me."

"Steamboat Gothic" 8 x 10, oils. SOLD
    Most plein air events promote painting in their downtown areas but none I've seen has as many interesting options as New Harmony. Architecture is not my strong suit but I had a blast painting this little town. On Thursday I broke a personal record, doing four paintings in one day, finishing up at midnight with a nocturne on Main Street.

"Five til Midnight" 9 x 12, oils.
   On Friday we painted along a trail on the grounds of the New Harmony Inn until rains came and ended our efforts for the day. In the end it turned out to be a good event for all of us. Jason placed in the Quick Paint event and I received an Award of Merit for "Morning Walk." Jason and Ken sold several paintings each and I had a sale as well. Missouri artist Michael McClure joined our merry band for part of the trip and also did well. I definitely plan on going back next year.

"Morning Walk" 9 x 12, oils. Richard McKnight Award of Merit