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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Last Week Paintings En Plein Air

Main Beach Paint Out

On Tuesday there was an all member paint out for LPAPA.  The paint out was to start at 9 am.  I ran across several painters on the way down to the beach.  Everyone spread out across the park even though the directions were to paint on the main beach.
The first step.  Everything is blocked in and there is a suggestion of the composition.
Nita came down from LA to be at the paint out.  I had painted with her before with the California Art Club.
At this point everything within my color key has been fully represented.  From this point on I am working within different areas of the painting and refining the color relationships, the value relationships, and the details within the painting.
Painters painting.
More painters painting.
This painting is a departure for me.  I do not usually paint buildings.  A lot of the other painters chose to paint the rocks or the cliffs in the opposite direction.  When confronted with easy and tough choices, I tend to pick the challenging option.  This is a way I can push myself to grow.  There are choices all along the way.  I believed a failed difficult painting has more to offer than a successful easy painting. ( in terms of growth )
The morning changed from a completely overcast day to a sunny morning.  I painted the clouds and the sky first because I knew they were going to burn off.  The morning was filled with saturated colors because of the cloud cover.  I am not sure how or why I picked the colors I did but I was really feeling them.  This painting took about 3 hours to complete.  My focus and concentration were at their peak despite many interruptions by interested beach goers.

The finished painting 24"X 36".
The value shot.
The detail shot.

Second of the Day

I really enjoyed seeing more painters being drawn out by the event. On the walk over to my next painting location, I passed James Mcgrue painting rockpile.
Another painter pulled out by the event.
Because I had painted this exact scene from this exact location earlier in the year, I felt like I did not need to do a composition sketch.  The sun was moving fast and there was no time to complete a painting 24"X 36" without taking some short cuts.
I simplified the water, the hills in the background, and the small rocks in the foreground to speed up the process.  My first painting probably took about 3 and a half hours.  This painting ended taking about 2 hours to finish.
 The finished painting measures 24"X 36".

As I walked back to the car, I passed Paul Kratter and he complimented me on my colors and the size of the paintings that I had cranked out that day.  Jim McVicker was impressed with how fast I had done my second painting of the day.  I have to admit it felt really good to be complimented by these awesome painters.
The value shot.
The detail shot.

Painting with Jim McVicker

This is a view that I had not painted before.  It was not that appealing to me until I saw Jim McVicker painting there.
I saw Jim painting at the quick draw on Sunday and was excited to see him painting the next day.  I thought his colors were better than most at the quick draw.  I also really liked his style and brush strokes.  Even though the location was not that great, I asked if he minded if I could paint with him.  He welcomed me.
I did a super quick sketch to make sure I could fit everything I wanted on my surface.  This is easy for the two foot by three foot paintings because the ratio is the same as my sketch book.
I am trying to keep it dark as long as I can so that the highlights do not get over worked.  In addition, when I work with the darker colors as long as possible it really helps me capture the light. Instead of painting the light at different stages throughout the painting, saving it till the end results in a more accurate representation of the scene.
The slope in the middle ground was difficult to fit into my composition and I had to redraw it and move it around so that it felt accurate.
Jim stayed mostly along Hiesler Park working a number of paintings throughout the day.  He worked 3 to 4 different paintings at the same time each day until they were complete.
Here you can see my correction to the foreground.  It is always more time consuming to go back and fix what is wrong than to get it right in the beginning.
The palm trees were a lot darker than I normally paint them because the light was behind them and the day was so overcast.  I liked the way the atmospheric perspective worked in this painting. The overcast day really made the coastline bluer than it normally is.
It felt very gratifying to have so many passerby's compliment my work.  I felt accomplished because my work stood the test of comparison.
When I am painting, I am painting the whole scene.  I am not thinking about what the center of interest is.  I don't believe that something as beautiful and complex as nature should be dummied down for consumption.  I think that the many subtle relationships between the objects, colors, and values are what make the picture a success.  I do not subscribe to the school of thought that thinks that everything in the painting must be subordinated to the center of interest.  In this painting, if there were to be a center of interest, I guess it would be the palm trees.  
The final painting 24"X 36".  
The black and white version of the painting.  This is an exercise in determining if the values are true.

The large version of the painting to show the detail of the painting.

My Turn

There was a uninvited painter who painted during the quick draw.  It seemed like the wrong thing to do.  I waited until everyone left before I set up.  I have never been in a quick draw or a plein air event.  I wanted to use this opportunity to prepare for my entrance into an event next year.  I did not bring a frame for my painting but I wanted to see how well I could paint within a specific time frame.
In preparation for participation I will start timing my painting sessions.  I will also start practicing framing my completed paintings on site.
At this point, I am blocked in and working the values and details.
The finished result.

The finished painting completed in less than two hours.  My Montage 24"X 24".

The value shot
The large version of my 24"X 24" painting.

Quick Draw at Montage with the Laguna Plein Air Painting Association Invitational

Greg Larock  a half hour into the two hour quick draw.  I was surprised that so many of the local painters picked inferior locations to paint.  There were quite a few of the painters facing south.  The view was rather simple and nondescript.  I can only surmise that this was done so that they would have a simple composition that they would have no problem finishing within the time they had.

John Brandon Sills painting was thick with atmospheric perspective.  The entire painting seemed to be filled with early morning haze.
Michael Obermeyer
It was impressive to see how far Michael had come in such a short amount of time.
Rita Pacheco was next in the long line of painters.  You can see from her canvas that she is still working on the bones of her composition.  It was interesting to see so many versions of the same seascape.  The differences in their approach and their individuality in style were interesting.
Debra Huse  has a gallery on Balboa Island. There was a constant line of interruptions by well-wishers.  Most of the painters did a great job at interacting with the patrons of the event.  
There were several painters on the beach that I did not get to visit because I brought my gear with me.  I had to park about a mile away and my gear weighs about 50 pounds.
One of a thousand great compositions at Montage.
Suzie Baker brought a model to the quick draw.  A lot of the artists were trying to get an edge on their competitors by having a different approach, subject, or composition.
Scott Prior  was the best of show winner from the year before.  I really like his larger paintings.
The view Scott Prior was painting.
Murderer's row-Paul Kratter, Jim McVicker, Ibrahim Amin, and James McGrue painting the key hole.
April Raber

Billy O'Donnel won best of show two years ago.  The way he lays down his paint on the surface is fascinating.  He begins by using a painting knife.  He then works it with a brush.  You may be able to see the edges he carves with the knife on his canvas. This is how his painting looks just before he works it with a brush.
Randall Sexton
Paul Kratter got his spot by getting there early.  He worked out some compositions before the event got started.  He did his ball point pen sketches so he could get a jump start to his painting.
Paul Kratter painting the key hole.
Ebrahim Amin

Jim McVicker Out of all the painters, I liked Jim's colors the best.  

James McGrue James was putting in a lot detail with a small brush when I came up to see him paint.  When I commented that there was a lot of detail in his painting he said "Sometimes it is the detail in the subject that draws me to paint it." I thought this was refreshing to hear because there is so much talk about simplifying everything.  
Ibrahim seemed to be painting to beat the time deadline.  Because I have painted with him a couple of times, I noticed the difference in the way he was putting down his brush strokes.  His brush strokes seemed short and choppy instead of long and steady.
Jim Wodark  was painting a nocturne to capture the judges interest.  He was looking through his hand like a telescope to get the lighting he wanted.
Lori Putnum

Thomas Jefferson Kitts
Clarke Mitchell  is a fellow pastelist.  I was amazed by how limited his pallet of colors was.  It seemed like he was painting with a twentieth of what I paint with.  Clarke had a information sheet posted on his easel so that he would not be bothered by questions.  I was not a fan of this approach.  As an artist I understand that concentration and focus are key but these people who bother you are your potential customers.  I like talking to the people who have questions.
April Raber's landscape had some interesting texture that she created with a knife.
I thought it was interesting that April was painting on her lap.  She said she never got used to painting on a easel.  This is amazing because April paints some really large industrial landscapes.

Suzie Baker

Jacobus Baas