Saturday, October 26, 2013

Quiet Corner

The little pond in the corner of the 
Bentonsport Rose Garden
is quite charming and is
a lovely place for an artist to paint.

"Quiet Corner"
9" x 12"  oil on panel

The Rose Garden is planted and maintained by
local volunteers.  
They do a great job in a challenging location.

The Rose Garden is planted within the stone walls 
of a historic mill pond that is
 subject to periodic flooding from the Des Moines River.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Beautiful Crested Butte

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity
 to paint in beautiful
 Crested Butte, Colorado this summer.

Even more thank you's to Kim and Bryce and their girls for 
being such wonderful hosts.

Now this is the way to walk the dogs!

The painting workshop with Don Sahli was an exceptional experience.
He encourages spontaneity, passion and teaches his students to 
"see the relationship of color, form and design in nature". 

Don was one of the last students of Russian School master painter Segei Bongart.
He carries on this legacy by teaching others the essentials of painting.

Don stresses that learning to paint better involves miles of canvas
 and the discipline to paint.  
He also stresses that painting is about enjoying the journey
without thinking about a style or what might sell.
(I might add that his paintings sell pretty darn well.)

He asked us to start with a quick wash
and a minimal sketch on the canvas.

Then we blocked in the shapes with color
 as if we were working on
an abstract painting.  

This is the view from the highway from the road that
runs past the Crested Butte Ski Area.
The wildflowers were in full bloom. 

I had a lot of fun painting this one on the last day.
I tried to keep the values lighter and the colors brighter than
my usual plein air paintings.  
With some gentle suggestions from my teacher 
concerning over-thinking...

On the last afternoon Don did his demo painting after lunch.
Some of us stayed to paint in the afternoon for a couple more hours.
By the time I found the view that I wanted to paint
I only had about an hour to complete my painting.

It is really a block in I suppose.
But I felt that I was finally finding my way around in the new palette.

Don's palette for you artists out there is:

Phtalo blue, Ultramarine blue, Cobalt blue, Cerulean blue
Viridian green, Cadmium yellow light, Cad yellow medium
Cad yellow deep, Cad orange, Cad red light
Alizarin crimson, Transparent red oxide, Yellow Ochre
Titanium white and Ivory/Carbon black.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Work, Work, Workshop!

I attended a challenging workshop in Crested Butte, Colorado in July.
The instructor was Denver artist Don Sahli.
 His colorful and energetic landscape and still life paintings
 are inspirational.

After a few years of hoping to find a Sahli workshop
that fit our schedule the stars finally aligned

and we were able to combine the workshop with a visit
 to our niece Kim and her charming and active family.

They kept Uncle Rick and the dogs happy with lots of
 hiking, picnicking and laughter.

So the timing was right, the locations were spectacular and
the instructor is talented.
He uses a full range palette, this is where the challenge begins for me.

I have been using a limited palette for many years
 so the idea of painting with a palette of 15 colors
 was a bit daunting!
But, being one who enjoys a new challenge
 combined with some palette boredom, I just jumped right in.

Oh, I need to add that we were required to use canvases that were
 16" by 20"or larger....for plein air!
For those readers who are not painters, this is a huge size.
Most plein air paintings are 9" x 12" or smaller!

Oh, yes, in addition to the expanded palette and the increased size,
we only had two hours to complete the paintings
 before leaving for a new painting location.

Those of you who paint with me know that I can paint pretty quickly
but this was just a wild ride.

 Don's advice was invaluable, he sees ones strengths and weaknesses
 and helps guide you to greater understanding of
your painting process.

The group that gathered for this workshop was 
up for the challenge as well.
Most were experienced artists looking to improve their painting
 and many of them were repeat offenders at Don's workshops.

All of them were great fun although, we worked so hard and so quickly,
our socializing time was at a minimum.

Don did a demonstration painting at each location too.
You learn so much by just watching him paint.
These were very full days.

The paintings in this blog post are 
from the first two days of Don's workshop.

I have the urge to go back and "improve" them a little
particularly the first one.  
The little barn doesn't integrate fully into the landscape.
Oh well.... 

More on the final day of painting, the colors in Don's palette 
and his process in my next post.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bonaparte's Bridge

I really haven't done much plein air painting this summer
for various reasons.

This little painting was actually done in my studio.

 I went to Bonaparte (Iowa) to paint 
with my Fort Madison artist friend Carlene Atwater in May.

"Bonaparte's Bridge"
4" x 8" - Oil on canvas

I did a plein air painting using the old Glove Factory building as my subject.  It is now a lovely Inn and has a wonderful facade.  I wasn't happy with that painting so....

I had taken a photo of the Bonaparte Bridge
 because I've always loved it's
faded green paint.

And...I had this wee little canvas.
So I cut my losses and had fun painting this little darling.

Here is a not very good photo of the Bonaparte Inn.
I hear it is for sale.
It has been very sensitively remodeled
 and has a ballroom on the top floor.
Any takers?