Painting on the street/sidewalk isn't easy. We got out early enough and had some nice light and a good view of the church spires but it turned out to be a busy area, with a truck that pulled up and took an hour to unload and quite a few folks arriving to work at the history center we were next to. The painting process is a fun challenge - the act of doing the painting is exhilarating. The end result is still not what I'd envisioned. But I learn and get better every time I do it.
Our second location was a pedestrian sidewalk with some great light just coming over and hitting the buildings on the right. For a short while. So, both results were not what I hoped and after carrying the wet paintings around for the day, I also had these two mush together and had to repair them as best as I could.
During the afternoon we sketched musicians playing in Jackson Square and painted another scene with the sun setting - wish I had caught that light better! We had a fabulous dinner at the Original French Market Restaurant & Bar and then wandered down to Frenchman St. to study the nightlife. We ducked into BB Kings House of Blues to hear just the end of a cool sounding Jazz singer. It was a full day!!
I spent 3 days in the beautiful city of New Orleans painting, sketching and soaking up life! The city is so vibrant! There is art and music everywhere. I could not believe the amount of art studios and galleries. Many artists seem to have their own gallery spaces - what a dream. We had perfect weather. We arrived just after a rain so the pavements were wet and reflective. First thing we did was unpack, fill our palettes and head to Cafe du Monde. Its a perfect spot to work. The tables give you a perfect view both into the cafe and down the street. I painted two scenes there. And ate a few beignets. mmmmm... beignets.
V....Vaughan is the best travel buddy. Being able to go somewhere with another artist is amazing. The whole trip was about light and color, inspiration, learning and pushing our abilities.
I've struggled for awhile now trying to take good shots of my paintings. I drag an easel outside, try to get the angle to the sun right with no shadows or glare, catch the painting when it blows over, deal with mosquitoes and then fuss over photo editing for hours to get the color balance somewhat correct. I have an old dslr, OLD - like 5 megapixels - and rather than invest in a new camera which I wouldn't use often, I decided to hire a pro!
The difference is clear when you compare the two images side by side. I see now that my photos tended to be more warm and much less crisp. My yellows were too yellow and my blues tended to purple. Now the subtleties of color and strokes are visible. Glare is removed in the dark transparent areas. I painted this scene maybe two years ago and haven't shared it because I could not get an accurate photograph. I like the painting and now I hope I can send it out in the world with good web images that will accurately represent the work.
Sometimes pro is the way to go!
This is one of the larger pieces I've done lately. I have a comfort zone, I think, like many artists and something between 12x16 and 24x24 works well for me. Sometimes I'm not sure how something will look large. But this one definitely works and is a nice balance of loose and defined areas, and the color play was fun using these somewhat pastel colors.
This is on exhibit until June at the PACT show at 12124 Ranch Rd 620. If you would like to purchase - let me know!
I worked on this painting several times. After the first pass, it was nearer the image on the right, but I felt that the shadow side was not dark enough so I did a glaze over the left side buildings. Then it all seemed too magenta and green - and both colors were on the acidic side. The people all seemed too separate, too contrived.
I had seen a painting by Jim Beckner (or was it Kevin Weckbach? - both exceptionally talented artists) and it had stuck with me. My piece was just so average, so segmented, and the colors were way off. So I loaded my brush with lots of blues and scrubbed out the figures and the side - connecting them through the shadows. I pulled my brush through various cools on my palette and scrubbed those over the blues. I painted over the tree and connected those colors and I painted OUTSIDE THE LINES! A dab here, a stroke there. I had fun! So much fun. That was an eye opening experience and it made me want to revisit more work and get more loose and playful.
I'm always saying I want to loosen up - yet I fail so often. I get stuck in that rendering mode. Its the graphic design background - the design and color blocks and neatness carrying over. I need to break those barriers more often.
Where did the week go? Well TGIF!
Here is a scene from Austin - looking south on Congress Ave. Its available at Russell Collection Fine Art.
This is an example of what I am trying to do now. A busy street scene like this and the capitol building could have been something I spent hours and hours laboring over and working every detail. But I limited the palette and simplified the scene and left areas of the initial block in basically untouched. Had I kept working, I would have wrung all the life out of it. That took confidence. Sometimes stopping is the hardest part.
Available at Russell Collection Fine Art in Austin. Opening reception Friday, Sept. 4, 6-8 pm.
I am not framing the large pieces now. I hope they are contemporary enough to float on their own and this way can fit into more interiors I think. And if someone wants a frame, then that is always an option they can decide on later.
It was most definitely easier to prepare the work for this show without all the framing. Still, I sanded the wood edges and waxed them to seal out moisture and protect the wood a little. I like the natural wood look so didn't want to paint or stain the edges.
Ampersand is the best product! I tried some cheaper cradled boards Jerry's started carrying, but they were cheaper for a reason. My husband had to fill corners and glue the board down to the wood frame in some cases. I want to put less money into my paintings, but not use inferior materials. Word to the wise.
Both the large gallery painting and the smaller sketch are available at Russell Collection Fine Art in Austin. The 3x3 (Three Women Three Visions) show opens Friday September 4.
Just got home late last night from New Orleans. It was a whirlwind trip with V....Vaughan. We got in just before sunset on Monday night and hit the streets with our cameras and sketchbooks. V.... created a couple of lovely sketches of a resident trumpeter. I saw him there and painted him two years ago. I had trouble getting my bearings.
I liken New Orleans to riding a horse with a hard mouth and strong will. It should be a pleasant experience, a thing of beauty, but you end up fighting with it and being frustrated and disappointed.
I had better success on Tuesday when we got up early, had beignets and beverages at the Cafe du Monde (they have the best of the three beignet places we tried btw.) We painted some sketches and listened to another musician serenade the crowds. Next we sat along the river front and sketched the mighty Mississippi river. It is truly an amazing river. So wide, such a strong current... carrying all our gew gaws in from China.
Tons more walking. Walked a quieter section, then along Bourbon, then back to our hotel area and got our car and drove to the Garden District. Unfortunately, the cemetery was closed. I had hoped to sketch the tombs in there. But we found a good view on Magazine street and settled in there. Then back to the business district for dinner at Luke. Luck favored me there... they sat us next to the kitchen! We watched the chefs hard at their craft and ate a good dinner and had a delicious cold beer. Much appreciated after the long day! Walked for dessert and then finally a shower and bed!!
I think we crammed three days of stuff into one. The heat wasn't bad really. The sun was too intense tho if you weren't in the shade working. And I probably should eat more than a beignet and a half for breakfast when setting out on such a day!
I think I found it stressful because every where we turned there were homeless people begging or street performers hawking. We were targets - sympathetic looking - and naive, unfortunately. I'm usually more savvy but these people are good at what they do and would have you roped before you knew what happened then you were "obliged" to "donate".
To be continued tomorrow while I put my feet up today. :-)
Wow, where did the week go? I've been painting, painting, painting! Gearing up for my three woman show at Russell Collection. Working on figures and city scenes of Austin and other favorite places. The above scene is of Congress Avenue in Austin and is available right now at Tidewater Gallery.
This week I will be painting the figure in context again and then hit the road next week for a road trip to New Orleans with V....Vaughan. We'd love to meet you there if you are in the area. Email me or watch social media for info where we "check in" and come have a beignet with us!
New Orleans Painting Road Trip with V....Vaughan
Three Woman Show - Russell Collection Fine Art
AIS 16th Annual Show
A Painter's Journal
Chasing the light. Capturing life.
Keep in touch
Receive updates about new paintings, books or videos, live events, and special subscriber sales!