What a fabulous time we had at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston. So much art! And food! And we took the time to really study the area. Despite my cold, I had a blast at the Saturday Soiree and tried, for the first time, steamed oysters. Lots of southern favorites to be had all weekend! V... and I explored and painted. We were invited to join some local and visiting artists to paint on a private island somewhere near James or John's Island. Many thanks to Hilarie L. for inviting us. I dropped my brush in the marsh. Then my painting blew in (on oil paper). There's always one, right?
We painted at night - a first for me. We painted the sunset and sold our little sketches to some passing admirers from Boston. Then we had the honor of doing a workshop for the SC Jr. Duck Stamp competition winners. Joining us was Flo Ulrich - and it made for a sort of reunion for us. V, Flo and I were among the original founders of Plein Air Austin. Some 15 years ago we named our little group and painted together and even had some shows, but didn't make it an official org. until later.
A group of about 20 kids came to our workshop - sharing their winning artwork and watching us demo. I painted from a photo of a Charleston carriage horse in the stables I found. Leave it to me to find the horses in a city (even NYC). :-)
I honestly thought this one I would bomb, but I managed to make it work and hopefully imparted some good info to the kids.
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I stood on a very windy hilltop this morning east of Austin to paint the rolling hills and curvy road in the country. The wind nearly blew me away. I have to say though, my new Prolific Painter easel set up was really stable. I kept a hand on it only during the biggest gusts.
I had a nice painting going. Caught the fresh tilled dark earth, the new spring greens, lots of atmosphere with the low sun. Then when I put the painting on the ground and was dismantling my palette, I dumped my turps (sludge and all) right on top of the painting. So now it has a pastel look - maybe a happy accident?
The painting was on Arches oil paper - and even with the turp mess, there was no bleed through. No "fat" left in these colors now.
Sunday morning was cloudy with flat light. We decided to just do some small studies from a high spot before decamping and heading home to Austin. As you can see I had about 5 in me.
I needed this little break. I think I tend to be a homebody and don't have the time or money right now to travel to paint. But when one is home all the time, then inspiration is rather lacking.
The temps probably were in the low 90s Saturday afternoon and the air was so dry that my eyes got very tired. So I tried something on the abstract side - softening my focus and just getting a feeling of the dead tree and brush rather than working details.
Summer is hanging on here for all its worth. But I booked a spot in Bastrop for a family camping trip this weekend. Glutton for punishment?
Friday morning I loaded my things into Terri Wells' suv and off we went to the hill country for a painting retreat with Plein Air Austin. We had a nice lunch in Llano and got to the 1200+ acre ranch around 3 pm.
Thank goodness she had a 4wd vehicle because we needed it as we drove the mesquite and oak pastures, climbing rough hills and crossing sandy creek beds.
We came to "Rock Pile" - a large granite outcropping that is common in this area around the highland lakes. I climbed to the top of this pile and had an amazing view. And while I stood there enjoying the absolute quiet, taking in the views, my cell phone rang. AT&T apparently had good coverage out there. Hubster was worried about picking up daughter who was not where she was expected to be. So I had to make some calls - standing 1525 ft above the ranch overlooking Enchanted Rock.
That taken care of, I climbed down and painted the scene above. We drove back to camp and met the other artists who were all arriving and settled down for what turned out to be an interesting night. More on that tomorrow!
A Painter's Journal
Chasing the light. Capturing life.
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